Morning or Evening: When’s the Best Time to Work Out?

Morning or Evening: When’s the Best Time to Work Out?
Liz Biscevic
May 1, 2014
  1. Improves Productivity.  Getting your heart rate up releases endorphins making you more awake and ready for the day. Working out can also increase clarity, meaning you’ll be able to tackle more of your daily tasks.  Not to mention you’ll have a fresh, endorphin fueled glow to brighten the day.
  2. Regulates sleep cycle.  A study at Appalachian State University* found that people who walked the treadmill for 30 minutes before going to work spent more time in REM at night, opposed to those who worked out in the afternoon and night.  By spending more time in a deep sleep, the body is allowed more time to repair itself and prepare for the next day.
  3. Reduces blood pressure.  That same study also found that earlier risers had a 35% dip in blood pressure, increasing their overall cardiovascular and mental health in the long term.
  4. Easier to form habits.  AM workouts can help start and maintain a healthy routine.  By working out in the morning, you’re breaking the tendency to procrastinate or prioritize other tasks.  For a busy schedule, working out in the morning guarantees a set amount of time instead of trying to the find time between appointments.
  5. You burn more calories throughout the day.  Calorie burn doesn’t stop when you leave the gym.  Working out can boost your metabolism for hours, meaning you’ll be burning calories through the day even when working in a sedentary office.
  1. Better workout performance.  Researchers from the Clinical Research Center of the University of Chicago found that metabolism is more stable in the evening, making you feel stronger and more apt to work out harder than in the morning.
  2. Less prone to injury.  Waking up and immediately hitting the gym has its benefits, but unless you give yourself extra time to warm up and stretch you’re making yourself more susceptible to injury.  In the evening, your core temperature is up and muscles are already awake, meaning it takes less time to get the body ready.  That’ snot saying you can just jump right into a rigorous circuit before warming up, but morning muscles definitely require a little more TLC.
  3. Improves stamina.  A report conducted by Harvard University shows that blood pressure is significantly higher in the evenings making exercise, especially cardio, even more beneficial in increasing circulation of blood and oxygen across the body.  Increasing heart rate when blood pressure is already raised can improve strength and endurance more efficiently than a morning workout.
  4. More endurance.  By working out later in the day, you’ve already had 2-3 meals, meaning your glycogen is ready to release.  These heightened blood sugar levels will give you more energy and mental drive making you stronger and mentally dedicated.
  5. Regulating hormone levels.  Working out boosts testosterone, a hormone that encourages your body to rejuvenate by helping in the production of red blood cells, converts fat to muscle, and balances blood sugar.  By working out in the evening, you’re body will get a nice dose of testosterone a few hours before sleep.  This means your body will be working to balance out these hormones and soak up all the benefits throughout the night.  It can also intensify the immediate results, making looking in the mirror the next morning awesome.
  6. More efficient caloric burn.  Night workouts mean you’re burning the excess calories consumed during the day.  The calories stored in your body have been getting used and distributed throughout the day, so an evening burst of cardio or strength exercises will simply vamp what’s already being done.  Additionally, because your body is already warmed up, you need less time to build intensity than a morning work out, meaning your body will start shredding calories quicker when working out in the evening.
And the winner is…
Though morning workouts seem to have more benefits, the fact is it doesn’t matter what time you exercise.  What matters is that you’re getting out there at some point during the day.  Adding worry to your day by trying to form the perfect workout routine isn’t necessary when the important part is that you’re setting aside time when you can.  To improve your mental health, increase weight loss and relieve stress, don’t sweat the time of the day.  You’re getting all the benefits just by getting out there.
Featured image via flickr by litratcher
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