Best Time for a Workout

The Best Time for a Workout

Timing is Everything: The Science-Backed Best Time for Your Workout

The alarm blares at the crack of dawn. Another early morning workout awaits. But is this actually the best time for exercise or simply an ingrained habit? The truth about identifying your optimal training schedule may surprise you.

The best time for a workout varies based on personal preference and schedule, with no one-size-fits-all answer. Many find exercising in the morning beneficial for energy levels and establishing a consistent routine.

The optimal timing for physical exercise depends on your specific health and fitness goals. However, research provides some key insights:

  1. High-impact activities that stress bones are extremely beneficial for bone health and geometry. The intensity of loading exercises is a key driver of bone changes according to a 2007 study (Vainionpää et al., 2007).
  2. Both aerobic and resistance training help manage diabetes by improving blood sugar control and insulin sensitivity. The American Diabetes Association recommends combining types and aiming for 150 minutes per week minimum of moderate exercise (Sigal et al., 2013).
  3. Data indicates a curved relationship between total physical activity and mental health, with 2.5-7.5 hours weekly associated with the maximum mood/emotional benefits as per a 2012 meta-analysis (Kim et al., 2012).
  4. Even just 15 minutes daily of brisk walking demonstrated reduced mortality and extended lifespan in research by Wen and colleagues (2011). Each additional 15 minutes continued boosting longevity.
  5. The recovery timeline needed before the next training session varies individually based on fitness level, age, genetics, and exercise type. Endurance sports require more cardiac recovery than resistance training (Stanley, Peake, & Buchheit, 2013).

A multifaceted training program spanning aerobic, muscle-building, and bone-strengthening activities tailored to your personal health profile and recovery ability is likely to confer optimal fitness and wellness benefits. Consulting a qualified trainer or medical provider can help determine appropriate programming variables and timing.

  • High-impact AM workouts benefit bone health; better sleep is a perk
  • Late afternoon sessions harness peak performance potential
  • Listen to your body’s circadian rhythms and energy fluctuations
  • Consistency with a schedule you can adhere to matters more than perfect timing
  • Fit activity in when convenient to prioritize it, regardless of time

Morning Workouts: Pros and Cons

Morning workouts have their share of advantages and disadvantages that you should consider before deciding whether to rise and shine for some exercise.

When it comes to the impact on sleep, morning workouts can actually improve your sleep patterns. Engaging in physical activity in the morning can help regulate your circadian rhythm, making it easier to fall asleep at night.

Additionally, morning workouts can boost your energy levels for the day ahead. By getting your blood flowing and releasing endorphins, you’ll feel more awake and alert throughout the day.

However, if you struggle with getting enough sleep or have trouble waking up early, morning workouts may not be the best choice for you. It’s important to listen to your body and find a workout routine that aligns with your individual needs and preferences.

Afternoon Workouts: Pros and Cons

If you’re unable to squeeze in a morning workout, afternoon workouts can be a great alternative, offering flexibility in your exercise routine.

Exercising in the afternoon has its own set of benefits and drawbacks.

On the positive side, afternoon workouts can help you avoid the end-of-the-day fatigue that often comes after a long day of work. By exercising in the afternoon, you can improve your focus and enhance your performance during the workout. Additionally, studies show that our bodies naturally burn about 10% more calories in the late afternoon compared to other times, which can aid in weight management.

However, there are also drawbacks to afternoon workouts. One potential drawback is that if you have a busy schedule, it can be challenging to find the time for a workout in the afternoon. Additionally, some people may find it difficult to motivate themselves to exercise after a long day.

Evening Workouts: Pros and Cons

Afternoon workouts may not be the ideal time for everyone, so let’s explore the pros and cons of evening workouts.

One of the benefits of evening workouts is that they allow you to reach peak performance. As the day progresses, your body temperature and hormone levels increase, making it easier to push yourself harder during exercise. This can lead to better anaerobic output, such as peak power and jump performance.

Additionally, evening workouts provide an opportunity to de-stress and leave the workday behind.

However, it’s important to consider the impact on sleep quality. Intense workouts right before bed can increase arousal, delay sleep, and disturb sleep quality. If you struggle with sleep, it may be best to schedule your workout earlier in the evening or opt for a different time of day.

Factors to Consider for Workout Timing

One important factor to consider is your body’s circadian rhythm. This internal clock regulates your sleep-wake cycle and affects your energy levels throughout the day. Understanding your circadian rhythm can help you schedule your workouts when you have the most energy and coordination.

Additionally, take into account your personal preferences and daily schedule. Are you a morning person who loves to start the day with a workout? Or do you prefer to exercise in the evening to relieve stress from the day? Consistency is key, so choose a time that you can stick to.

Experiment with different workout times to find what works best for you, and remember, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. Ultimately, the best time for your workout is the time that suits you and helps you achieve your fitness goals.

The Best Time to Work Out: Final Verdict

To determine the best time to work out, consider your body’s natural rhythm and personal preferences to maximize energy, coordination, and consistency.

Your circadian rhythms play a crucial role in determining when your body is most energized and ready for physical activity. For many people, this tends to be in the morning, when cortisol levels are naturally higher, providing a natural boost of energy. Morning workouts also allow you to start your day on a positive note and set a healthy tone for the rest of your day.

However, if you’re not a morning person or have a busy schedule, don’t worry. The best time to exercise is whenever you can fit it into your schedule.

Ultimately, the key to successful workouts lies in finding a time that works for you and allows you to consistently prioritize exercise. So, whether it’s morning, lunchtime, or evening, choose a time that aligns with your personal preferences and allows you to perform at your best.

References: Vainionpää, A., Korpelainen, R., Sievänen, H., Vihriälä, E., Leppäluoto, J., & Jämsä, T. (2007). Effect of impact exercise on bone mineral density in elderly women with low BMD: a population-based randomized controlled 30-month intervention. Osteoporosis International, 18(1), 109-118.

Sigal, R. J., Alberga, A. S., Goldfield, G. S., Prud’homme, D., Hadjiyannakis, S., Gougeon, R., … & Kenny, G. P. (2013). Effects of aerobic training, resistance training, or both on percentage body fat and cardiometabolic risk markers in obese adolescents: the healthy eating aerobic and resistance training in youth randomized clinical trial. JAMA pediatrics, 168(11), 1006-1014.

Kim, Y. S., Park, Y. S., Allegrante, J. P., Marks, R., Ok, H., Cho, K. O., & Garber, C. E. (2012). Relationship between physical activity and general mental health. Preventive medicine, 55(5), 458-463.

Wen, C. P., Wai, J. P., Tsai, M. K., Yang, Y. C., Cheng, T. Y., Lee, M. C., … & Wu, X. (2011). Minimum amount of physical activity for reduced mortality and extended life expectancy: a prospective cohort study. The Lancet, 378(9798), 1244-1253.

Stanley, J., Peake, J. M., & Buchheit, M. (2013). Cardiac parasympathetic reactivation following exercise: implications for training prescription. Sports Medicine, 43(12), 1259-1277.

Spread the word

Similar Posts