The best time to exercise, whether in the morning or evening, can vary from person to person, and it ultimately depends on your individual preferences, lifestyle, and goals. Both morning and evening workouts have their advantages and disadvantages, so it's essential to consider what works best for you.
Working out is crucial for maintaining and enhancing physical and mental health, improving longevity, and enjoying an overall higher quality of life. It's not just about looking good, it's about feeling and being your best, both physically and mentally.
Irrespective of the timing of your workouts, consistent physical activity offers numerous health advantages, such as enhancing cardiovascular health, building strength, and boosting endurance. For many individuals, the choice of when to exercise often hinges on their daily schedule constraints, leaving them with limited flexibility in selecting the ideal time of day for physical activity.
To start, completing your workout in the morning means you've achieved something before your day officially begins. This early accomplishment floods you with endorphins, giving you a positive feeling that many won't experience until much later in the day. This could be a potential confidence booster for many people.
Additionally, exercising in the morning eliminates the need to schedule a workout later in the day, which can be a welcome relief. It frees up your afternoon and evening for other activities like preparing dinner, spending time with friends, or simply unwinding.
Advantages of Morning Exercise:
Morning workouts can help kickstart your metabolism and potentially lead to more calories being burned throughout the day. Studies have discovered that morning workouts can have a positive impact on energy levels, attentiveness, concentration, and decision-making abilities. These benefits can contribute to a more productive day at work.
Many people find it easier to establish a consistent exercise routine in the morning, as there are typically fewer distractions or schedule changes early in the day. Morning exercisers tend to maintain a more consistent routine because morning workouts provide fewer opportunities for excuses. When you work out early in the day, there's less chance of skipping it later due to accumulated responsibilities and obligations.
Improved Mood and Focus:
Morning exercise can boost endorphins, leaving you feeling more energised, alert, and in a better mood for the day ahead. Engaging in morning workouts offers a fantastic way to kickstart your day with a positive vibe. The endorphins, often referred to as "happy chemicals," released during exercise can keep your mood elevated well beyond your one-hour workout session. Additionally, the feeling of achievement after finishing a workout can lay the foundation for a day filled with optimism.
Regular morning exercise may improve sleep quality over time, as long as it doesn't interfere with your ability to fall asleep at night. Initially, getting up early can pose a challenge, but scientific studies indicate that establishing a morning exercise routine can actually modify your circadian rhythm. This adjustment makes your body naturally more alert in the morning and inclined to become tired in the evening, promoting an earlier sleep and making it easier to continue morning workouts. Moreover, some research suggests that morning exercise enhances deep sleep more effectively than evening workouts. Furthermore, improved sleep not only contributes to better recovery but also supports muscle growth, potentially resulting in increased strength gains.
However, morning exercise may not be ideal for everyone, as some people may experience stiffness and reduced performance early in the day. Additionally, if you're not a morning person, it can be challenging to maintain a consistent morning workout routine.
Drawbacks of a Morning Exercise Routine
While morning workouts offer several advantages for a healthy lifestyle, they do come with their downsides. Here are some potential drawbacks:
Exercising in the morning can be challenging if you didn't eat enough the previous evening, leading to mid-workout hunger. To combat this, consider having a larger dinner or a protein-rich snack before bedtime. You can also eat a small, carbohydrate-rich snack like a banana before your morning workout to prevent hunger-related fatigue.
Interrupted Deep Sleep:
Early-morning alarms can disrupt deep sleep, leading to sleep inertia (feeling grumpy upon waking) and potentially chronic fatigue if it occurs frequently.
Disturbed Physical Performance:
Most people don't wake up feeling agile and energised. Morning stiffness and temporary inflexibility are common. While you should gradually improve as you warm up, research shows that specific strength markers, such as peak power, tend to be higher in the evening.
Require longer Warm-Up:
Morning workouts require a longer warm-up because your core body temperature is lower. It's essential to warm up properly to avoid injury, as jumping into intense exercise without adequate preparation can be risky. Additionally, your heart rate tends to be slower in the morning, making a thorough warm-up even more important.
To summarise, while morning workouts can be beneficial, it's essential to address these potential challenges to ensure a safe and effective exercise routine in the early hours.
What Happens When you Exercise in the Evening?
Although morning workouts may appear to be the preferred choice, incorporating exercise into your afternoon or evening schedule comes with its own established advantages. Opting for an evening workout could allow you to enjoy some additional rest in the morning.
A late-night workout can pave the way for an excellent tomorrow. In the ongoing debate about the best time to work out, mornings and midday workouts often steal the spotlight. However, before you set your alarm for the crack of dawn or give up your lunch break for exercise, it's worth exploring the numerous advantages that an evening or a late-night workout can bring!
Increased Strength and Performance:
Body temperature, muscle function, and flexibility tend to peak in the late afternoon and early evening, potentially leading to better performance during night workouts. Studies indicate that, from a physical standpoint, the majority of individuals tend to perform better later in the day. Muscle strength, flexibility, power output, and endurance typically show superior results during evening workouts compared to morning sessions. Additionally, those who exercise in the evening may take considerably longer to reach the point of exhaustion, demonstrating enhanced endurance levels.
Evening workouts can help reduce stress and enable us to unwind after a long day, making it easier to relax and sleep better. Exercise is an effective stress-reliever, and engaging in physical activity at night can be particularly beneficial for releasing built-up tension. The rush of endorphins experienced during and after a workout serves as a calming nightcap, assisting in the process of unwinding before bedtime. Physical activity is consistently effective in stress relief, and opting for an evening workout can be especially beneficial for letting go of pent-up tension. The rush of endorphins experienced during and after exercise can serve as a soothing way to cap off your night, aiding in the process of unwinding before bedtime.
If you have a busy morning schedule, evenings may be more convenient for exercise. If your objective is to enhance your strength and tap into your maximum muscle potential, it might be prudent to schedule your workouts for the later part of the day. Research published in the Journal of Sports Science & Medicine indicates that peak muscle performance typically occurs during the afternoon and early evening due to variations in hormone levels and core body temperature. Making the switch from a morning weightlifting regimen to an exercise session later in the day could unlock several advantages.
Why Not to Work Out at Night?
The advantages of afternoon and evening workouts, as mentioned above, might naturally make you inclined to allocate the latter part of your day for exercise. However, it's important to also take into account a couple of potential drawbacks.
Could potentially disrupt sleep:
On the downside, exercising too close to bedtime can disrupt sleep for some people, so it's essential to allow sufficient time for your body to cool down and relax before attempting to sleep. Also, evening workouts may be challenging to stick to if you have a fluctuating schedule or commitments that often run late.
Certain people might encounter restlessness if they engage in intense exercise, such as CrossFit or HIIT, too close to bedtime. This concern typically doesn't apply to more gentle activities like yoga, stretching, or other relaxation exercises, which can actually enhance sleep when performed before retiring for the night.
Reduced Energy Levels:
After a long day, energy levels may be lower in the evening, potentially affecting workout performance and motivation. Some people may feel fatigued or less enthusiastic about exercising in the evening.
Evening workouts can be challenging to fit into a busy schedule, especially if you have family commitments, work-related responsibilities, or social engagements in the evening. In some gym settings, the evening can be a busier and more crowded time to work out, which may lead to longer wait times for equipment and a less enjoyable workout experience.
Ultimately, the best time to exercise is when you can consistently incorporate it into your routine and when you feel most energetic and motivated. Some people may prefer morning workouts to kickstart their day, while others may thrive on evening workouts to de-stress and unwind. It's crucial to listen to your body, find what works best for you, and consider other factors like your daily schedule, sleep patterns, and personal preferences. Experiment with different times to see when you perform at your best and enjoy your workouts the most.