Do you prefer to sweat it out first thing in the morning, or exercise in the evening as a way of winding down for the day? Or do you use your lunch hour as gym hour? Generally speaking, there is no right or wrong time to exercise – as long as you keep at it regularly, you will reap the benefits. But there are different benefits to working out at different times of the day.
The Early Bird
- If you want to make exercise a habit that will stick, research says that morning workouts may help you. That’s because you get it out of the way before the rest of the day bogs you down with pressures, deadlines, responsibilities and so forth. You’re also less likely to be caught up with work or other commitments and “forget” or “don’t have time” to exercise.
- A study has also found that those who exercise in the morning become less distracted by food and are inclined to make better food choices afterwards as they have already started the day on a healthy note and want to keep it that way.
- A University of North Carolina study found that morning workouts boost cortisol in the body, which helps to make you feel more awake.
- When you exercise upon waking up and before breakfast, you’re working out in a fasted state, which pushes the body to burn 20% more of its stored fat. Mornings are thus the ideal time for those with weight loss goals.
- Morning workouts have been shown to boost productivity and improve your mood for the rest of the day.
The Lunch Trooper
- Body temperature keeps rising throughout the day, typically reaching its peak between 2pm and 6pm. This is when your body is primed for exercise as muscle function, strength, and endurance are optimum.
- In the late afternoon, heart rate and blood pressure dip to their lowest, thus decreasing risks of injury.
- Are you mainly exercising to build muscles? You’d want to maximise testosterone production and that happens during afternoon workouts, leading to more gains and strength.
The Evening Burn
- You may have heard to the contrary but a study has found that working out in the evening can actually help you sleep better and longer.
- Those who enjoy HIIT exercises or sports that involve speed should aim for evening workouts as your reaction time tends to be quickest at this time.
- One research revealed that those who exercise in the evening can last 20% longer before reaching exhaustion, so it’s ideal for endurance sports and extended gym sessions.
- Exercising at the end of a work day can be a great stress reliever, letting you blow off steam while filling up on endorphins. This also helps you sleep better.