Morning, noon, or night: Is there an optimal time for exercise?
When it comes to exercise, does it matter when you do it? As it turns out, there are pros and cons to getting your physical activity on at different times of day. Here’s how working out in morning, afternoon, and evening can affect your fitness goals.
Perks of an A.M. Sweat Sesh
If you’re a morning person, exercising in the A.M. can not only help you shake off those sleep cobwebs, but it may also help you stay on track. Getting your workout in first thing makes it less likely for scheduling conflicts, excuses, or fatigue from a long day at work to get in the way.
Exercising midday may help give your muscles a little TLC. Your body temperature naturally rises in the afternoon, which helps your muscles stay supple and flexible. This can help your muscles work more efficiently, which can help prevent injury and boost your workout endurance.
Nighttime Workout Woes
An intense workout before bed can increase your body temperature, which may interfere with your ability to fall asleep. If you have trouble getting shut-eye after late-night cardio, aim to get your workout in at least three hours before bedtime.
Even though there are perks to working out at certain times of day, the most important thing is consistency. In other words, the very best time to workout is at a time you can stick to!
Circadian Rhythms in Exercise Performance: Implications for Hormonal and Muscular Adaptation. Joondalup, Australia: School of Exercise, Biomedical and Health Sciences, Edith Cowan University, 2011. (Accessed on December 8, 2017 at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3761508)
Effects of exercise timing on sleep architecture and nocturnal blood pressure in prehypertensives. Boone, NC: Vascular Biology and Autonomic Studies Laboratory, Department of Health and Exercise Science, Appalachian State University, 2014. (Accessed on December 8, 2017 at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4270305)
Exercise at This Time of Day for Optimal Sleep. Washington, D.C.: National Sleep Foundation. (Accessed on December 8, 2017 at http://sleep.org/articles/exercise-time-of-day)