The Best Time of Day to Work Out

Working out has many great benefits for your body. However, finding time to work out is often challenging. Both morning and evening workouts have their benefits and have been shown to promote healthy lifestyles and weight loss. For exercise to be effective you must be consistent with it and find a time that fits your schedule.

Should you get your workout in at the start of your day or at the end of it? Let’s look at the benefits of each to determine what is best for you.

Morning Workouts

  • Energy: AM workouts can jump-start your metabolism, boosting your energy for the rest of the day.
  • Sleep: Sometimes evening exercise wakes people up, so working out in the morning may help you get a better nights’ rest. Getting enough sleep is important: it can increase your cardio health, decrease stress and anxiety, help maintain your weight, and lower your blood pressure. More time spent in a deep sleep gives your body more time to repair itself.
  • Healthy Cravings: Starting your day with a workout tends to make you want a healthy breakfast, like a shake or smoothie. Your workout can also cause you to drink more water throughout the morning. Together, these decisions can set you up for an overall healthier day.

Evening Workouts

  • Strength: Evening workouts produce higher power outputs. Having the day to eat and fuel up can make you ready for a harder, more intense workout.
  • Safety: Because your body temperature is elevated and your joints are less stiff, you may be less susceptible to injury with an evening workout.
  • Stress relief: Having an outlet at the end of your day can help release some stress.

Does Time Make a Difference for Weight Loss?

If weight loss is your goal, exercise timing is a toss-up. One study found that evening walkers lost more fat mass than morning walkers. However, research has shown that exercising on an empty stomach (called a “fasting state”) is better for weight loss because your body will burn more fat than carbohydrates. Fasting is when you reduce or eliminate food and/or drink for a period of time from your body. For most people, exercise while fasting means working out in the morning.

The Bottom Line

When you work out may be less important than the fact you are working out. Consistency is what really matters. So finding the time of day you can stick to, the time of day you enjoy, probably matters the most. If it’s a toss-up, consider these time factors:

Morning’s best if you:

  • Wake up early enough and feel refreshed
  • Have a busy schedule and things tend to pop up in the middle of the day or evening, causing you to cancel your exercise plans

If you decide to do morning workouts, make sure you warm up properly with a brisk walk or light jog followed by stretching with the muscles warm.

Evening’s best if you:

  • Consistently hit the snooze button and have trouble getting out of bed
  • Wake up feeling groggy and stiff, and your body needs time to fuel up and loosen up

When working out in the evening make sure you are not working out right before bedtime. That might make it difficult to fall asleep and have a good night’s rest.

Meet the Author

Amanda Everts, LAT, MS is an Athletic Trainer at Aurora Lake Geneva and Badger High School in Lake Geneva, WI.

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The information presented in this site is intended for general information and educational purposes. It is not intended to replace the advice of your own physician. Contact your physician if you believe you have a health problem.

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