Did you know that working out in the morning may help you to lose weight faster? Or that an after-work run can help decrease stress? Scientists have found benefits to exercising at different times of day. Which one works best for you?
Morning routines may be easier to maintain, because they will not conflict with other responsibilities like a late night at work or meeting up with friends. Morning exercise also doesn’t conflict with your sleep schedule; some studies show that exercising after 8 pm can disrupt sleep. On the other hand, exercising at 7 am may help you sleep more soundly compared to working out at 1 pm or 7 pm.
Working out in the morning means your body is not as warm as it is later in the day. This means you need to take extra time to warm your muscles up before exercising in the morning. Research also shows that exercising on an empty stomach can help you to burn up to 20 percent more body fat, which is easier to do after you wake up.
Some people love to exercise during their lunch breaks. Taking a brisk walk at lunchtime can give you a much-needed break from the office. Doctors say, however, that you should give your body 90 minutes after eating a heavy meal before exercising, because your body needs the bloodflow to go to your digestive tract. Exercising takes it away from there and sends it to your muscles.
If your goal is to reset your body clock after traveling, then the afternoon may be the best time to do so. Studies about circadian rhythms in mice showed that it was the most beneficial for mice to run during the afternoon and not in the mornings in order to reset a broken body clock. When you are feeling jet-lagged you should consider a run in the afternoon instead of a nap.
Much like your muscles are colder in the morning, your body temperature is at its highest in the late afternoon and evening. If you are a fan of tough workouts, then exercising in the evening may be for you. This is the best time for muscle strength, endurance and flexibility and your heart rate and blood pressure are lowest. In studies of soccer players, their endurance and speed were the best at 5 pm. Also, your lungs are working at optimal efficiency, which will boost your endurance for tough workouts.
The best time to workout depends on your goals. If you are not a morning person and struggle to hit anything but snooze after you wake up, it may be too difficult to hit the gym at 6 am. But if burning 20 percent more body fat sounds appealing, it may be worth overcoming your dislike of the wee hours. No matter what, the most important thing is that you exercise. Create a consistent routine that works for you and you will reap the benefits at any time of day.