Morning or evening – when is the best time to work out? Some people believe that a 5 or 6 am workout gets their hearts racing and gets them geared up for the day. Other people would never even consider breaking a sweat before noon, while others prefer an evening workout. The question here remains, is any one time of the day the best time to exercise?
After much expert debate, it is clear that there is no reliable evidence that suggests calories burns more efficiently at 5 am than at 5 pm. However, the time of the day greatly influences how you feel when working out. Experts recommend that you choose a time of day you are able to stick with and make it a habit.
“The best time of the day to workout is when you will do it most consistently. This is because the benefits of physical activity are directly linked to the amount you do on a consistent basis,” says Aldana, a Professor of Lifestyle Medicine in the Department of Exercise Sciences at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. “This is more important than the time of day.”
To figure out your best time, there are a few key factors to consider:
1. Location – If you plan to workout at the gym, you need to consider if one is located close to your workplace where you are able to pop in before or after work. Or is there a location closer to your home?
2. Time of day – Due to our ever rotating lifestyles, what time is best for you?
Morning people prefer working out before diving into their busy schedules. AM workouts jump-start the body’s energy for the day. It helps to aid in getting a better night’s rest.
Another added benefit is that morning workouts mentally prepare you to want a more healthy breakfast. In addition, these people tend to also drink more water throughout the morning.
Evening and night people prefer to exercise, leaving the stress of the day behind them. PM workouts produce higher power moves. Having the day to fuel up with food prepares the body ready for a harder, more intense workout.
Because your body has been in movement throughout the day making your joints less stiff, you may be less prone to getting injured. Enrolling in a workout class, gym or popping in an exercise DVD at the end of the day helps to release stress for PM people.
3. Type of physical activity — Whatever type of cardio exercises you are doing, be its steady state, interval training, aerobics, or what form, such as cycling, jogging, etc, choose a time of day that is convenient and sustainable to you. According to the American Heart Association, we should get at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity (2 ½ hours), or 75 minutes (1 ¼ hours) a week of vigorous-intensity.
If you do not have the time, get creative and break up your activity into manageable time increments. Try to get in at least a 30-minute workout per day. It can be performed throughout the day, for example, have a 10-minute walk in the morning, have a quick 10 minutes walk during lunch time, and a 10-minute walk in the evening. And right there you have a 30-minute workout. More is always better. Keep in mind though that exercise is defined as any kind of physical activity that gets your heart rate up for approximately 10 minutes at a time
4. Social setting – Different people have different preferences with regard to how they respond to exercises in different settings. If you are more likely to work out consistently with a partner, then look for a counterpart who shares the same passion that will accommodate you regardless of the time of day. Some people prefer the gym setting while others do not. There are many programs being held for those who love the great outdoors, while some are just as comfortable with staying indoors working out with a DVD or streaming their programs on demand.
There are other factors to consider, but it is clear that the best time for a workout is whenever it is best for you and what fits best in your schedule. Whenever that time is for you, then that’s when you should do it. If you try to force yourself to exercise at times that are inconvenient, you will eventually lose interest and quit.