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Is There a Best Time of Day to Exercise?

Is There a Best Time of Day to Exercise?

When you start a new fitness program, you might be wondering if there is a best time of day to exercise. Sticking with a regular exercise program is the main key to success, but here are some pros and cons of exercising at particular times of day.

Morning

There are many benefits to running in the morning including:

Boosting metabolic rate;
Regulating your appetite;
You are less likely to have other commitments first thing in the morning;
There can be weight loss benefits to running in the morning;
Running in the morning can help you to sleep better at night;
It is a fantastic way to start the day, putting you in a positive frame of mind and leaving you feeling energised for the day.
Some people are morning people and don’t find it a chore to get up early and may find this the best time to exercise. On the positive side, morning exercise revs up the metabolism and this can help you use up more calories during the day. Exercising first thing means avoiding the heat in summer and in the gym may make it easier to get on the machines.

Some people prefer to eat before a training session and some prefer not to. On one hand if you train on an empty stomach, you can force the body to turn its fat stores into energy reserves. On the other hand if you have had some breakfast you will have more energy to burn and may be able to push yourself harder, therefore getting more out of your workout.

On the downside, unless you’re a morning person, you might have to force yourself to exercise and it might be harder to form a habit of getting up early to exercise.

Afternoon

Exercising in the afternoon is beneficial due to:

The afternoon is reportedly the best time for exercise, as the body and brain are the most alert during these times;
A great way to work off any stress accumulated earlier in the day.
However running in the afternoon might not be so easy if you are in a job requiring you to be at a desk – but sometimes flexible hours make it more feasible. Exercising between 3pm and 5pm may reportedly increase performance because the brain is more alert and the body is at its peak temperature. It may also be a great way to work off stress accumulated earlier in the day, and you can catch some sunlight while you run.

On the other hand, work might get in the way and exercise might keep getting deferred. Also gyms can be busy and it might be harder to stick to your routine if you work out in the afternoon.

Evening

Running in the evening is great for:

Running off the whole day’s stress;
Is convenient due to being outside office hours;
Helps you to sleep better at night.
Many people may find exercising immediately after work suits their “owl” body clocks. Some studies have reportedly concluded that lung function and hormone levels support a peak exercise time of around 6pm. Evening running can help work off the entire day’s stress and calm the brain. It may help you feel less like eating a big dinner and may help relaxation as well as promotes a good night’s sleep.

Possible distractions include evening social and family commitments; summer heat if exercising outside, and for some people, the “wake-up” effect of exercise may make it more difficult to sleep.

The Best Time?

In essence, the best time for your fitness routine is the one that works for you and your body rhythms. To find the best time, try them all and see what works for you.