What is the best time of day to exercise
If you have a choice, there is one part of the day in particular that seems to be better when it comes to exercise.
Some fitness expercts recommend working out first thing in the morning because that’s when you’re least likely to have scheduling conflicts and therefore more likely to exercise regularly. Plus, early exercisers often say that a morning routine leaves them feeling more energized and productive during the day.
Morning workouts typically mean you’re less prone to distractions. When you first wake up, you haven’t started tackling the day’s to-do list. You’re also less likely to get phone calls, text messages, and emails. With fewer distractions, you’re more likely to follow through with your workout.
In the summer, working out in the morning will feel more comfortable, as the hottest part of the day is 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. It’s recommended to avoid outdoor exercise during this time. If you prefer outdoor activities, it’s best to work out in the early morning, especially on very hot days.
An early morning workout could set the tone for a healthier day, so working out early may encourage you to make healthier choices throughout the day.
A morning workout may be a better match for your body’s hormonal fluctuations. Cortisol is a hormone that keeps you awake and alert. It’s often called the stress hormone, but it only causes problems when there’s too much or too little of it. Typically, cortisol increases in the morning and drops in the evening. It reaches its peak around 8 a.m. If you have a healthy circadian rhythm, your body might be more primed to exercise at this time.
Regular exercise is excellent for boosting energy and reducing fatigue. When you work out, oxygen and nutrients travel to your heart and lungs. This improves your cardiovascular system, endurance, and overall stamina. By exercising early, you may feel more energized throughout the day.
Physical activity also improves focus and concentration, regardless of when you do it. But if you have trouble focusing during the day, a morning workout might be just the ticket.
Getting an early workout might be just what you need to get a good night’s rest. A study demonstrated that adults got better sleep on the days they exercised early in the morning.
But if you are not a morning person and shudder at the thought of getting out of bed for a 6 a.m. workout, there’s good news: People tend to perform best at exercise, especially high-intensity exercise, later in the day. Morning exercise definitely has its benefits but working out in the afternoon has its own upsides, and some of them are pretty great.
Research shows we are at peak performance in strength and endurance later in the day. One reason for this is our glucose levels are higher after a few meals. This gives us the energy to tackle harder workouts. Because we tend to work harder in the afternoon, we also burn more calories – up to 10% more.
One study found exercising in the afternoon balances circadian rhythms by producing more internal clock proteins needed for regulation than any other time. So if you have trouble sleeping or getting into a nightly routine, afternoon exercise may help you fall asleep earlier. Word of warning: training too late can have the opposite effect.
You get home, open the fridge, grab a bite and realise you weren’t even hungry. If your healthy intentions tend to fall by the wayside after lunch, heading to a class as soon as you finish work will keep you on the straight and narrow.
Exercise is widely known to help reduce stress. Afternoon exercise, specifically, can be used strategically to put boundaries around your work day and let off steam. This is particularly helpful if you have a demanding 9-to-5. There’s nothing worse than getting home and feeling like you’re still at work. An afternoon workout is an effective way to leave work behind. It reduces cortisol and adrenaline levels, releases tension, and gives you endorphins so you’ll get home in a better mood.
All in all, the best time to work out is whenever you can. If you exercise at different times of the day, be sure to note the hour as you’re tracking your progress. That way, you’ll know when your body clock may be to blame for a less-than-optimal workout.