The Best Times of Day to Exercise, According to Science

The Best Times of Day to Exercise, According to Science

If you’re a self-identified fitness junkie, or just somebody who’s trying to get back to a healthier lifestyle, then exercise is probably a big part of your life. We all know that any form of exercise, including running, lifting weights, or even just going for a walk, is great for the mind and body.

Doctors and researchers recommend that the average adult should aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day. We often hear about how much exercise we should be getting in, and which type may be more beneficial according to your goals, but we never really hear about the best times for exercise. Fitness enthusiasts will often swear by a certain time to get their exercise in, like the early morning, but is an early workout really the best way to go? I did some research to see what time is the best time to exercise, or if there is even one at all.

Advantages of Morning Workouts

This is for all you morning people! It is widely heard from experts that exercise in the morning has advantages over exercising in the evening, but other experts disagree. So what do we believe? Is a morning workout really the best thing for us, and is this true for everyone? A couple of examples seen in SHAPE magazine tell us that morning workouts beat evening ones because of less crowds at the gym, the potential for eating a healthier breakfast, and a higher chance of being consistent with exercise if it is the first thing that you do every day. Another benefit of exercising in the morning is the convenience of it. As the day goes on, it’s easy for things to pile up on top of each other - homework, work responsibilities, other commitments. In the morning, you can start fresh with a workout and not have to worry about squeezing it into a busy schedule later in the day.

Related: How Exercise Affects Men and Women Differently

Advantages of Evening Workouts

This one is for the night owls! P.M. workouts can range from the end of a workday (4:30-6:00 p.m.) to the later hours of the night (8:00 - midnight). Good things about fitting in a workout in the evening include: getting more sleep the night before = more alertness and strength, relieving the stress of the day, and a night-time workout could help you avoid calorie-heavy dinner choices. Evening workouts could also be more convenient for people who have busy morning schedules, and don’t have much free time until the sun goes down.

So Which Is Better - A.M. or P.M.?

Exercising at both times of the day has their advantages, so is one truly better than the other? According to the American Heart Association, there is no one time that is best for a workout; it all depends on you. The best time for a person to exercise depends on a variety of factors, like their current location, the time of day, and what kind of physical activity they want to do. Everybody has different preferences on how and when they exercise, and the most important thing is to exercise, and to do it consistently!