What is the Best Time of Day to Work Out?

morning workout

There are benefits to working out at different times during the day.

morning workout

In my high school and college days, my key workout times were in the early afternoon, due to the repetitiveness of my schedule back then. Then, during medical school late evening workouts became my only real option, to the point where I had to join a 24-hour gym to sneak in my exercise time. Now, with four children, a husband, and a career as a surgeon, I absolutely cherish my morning workouts at 5 AM. It is very refreshing to wake-up to a quiet house and quiet neighborhood, and then enter an ENERGETIC athletic environment.

Early morning: Working-out first thing in the morning allows you to get your body going, and it gives you a great boost of energy to start the day. Exposure to daylight soon after waking can also put you on a better regime to easily sleep at night. Early exercisers tend to more consistently stick to their routine, and it is the most effective time in regards to losing weight because it decreases your cravings throughout the day.

READ MORE: Three Times You Shouldn’t Work Out

Midafternoon: Controlling your circadian rhythm (your body’s internal clock) may be most effective when exercise is performed in midday. If you travel frequently, it may also combat jetlag. Based on a study by the University of California, Los Angeles, the clock that controls your organs may be regulated best by midday exercise.   A study on mice showed that exercise around this time made the heart and liver produce healthy proteins. Controlling a beneficial circadian rhythm may also decrease the risk for diabetes, obesity, memory loss and mood disorders.

Evening workouts: Sometimes an evening workout is the first chance you even get to hit the gym during the day. Keeping your gym bag or running shoes in your car can help you to consistently get a workout in before crashing at home for the day. In an evening workout, your body is typically fueled for the day, so you may be ready for a tougher challenge, although many studies show that exercising late in the day can make it more challenging to wind down for a good nights sleep. Adding in 5-10 minutes of meditation afterwards could help your body to relax and slow down after a healthy sweat session.

Overall, anytime is a great time for exercising! Just try to stick with it and make it a part of your daily routine.

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Published by karenmsutton

HSS Orthopaedic surgeon in sports medicine | Mother of 4 amazing children | Team physician for USA Women's Lacrosse | ACL injury expert

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