Because of our tight schedule in today’s world, some prefer to exercise before work in the morning, while others do it after work in the evening. With personal preferences playing an important role and scientific evidence backing both, there still may be a few things to consider before deciding.
Exercising in the Morning vs. Exercising in the Evening – Does the Time Really Matter
The effects of exercising may vary depending on when you are doing it. Studies have compared a few factors to determine the differences between the day and night when it comes to working out.
1. Higher body temperature in the evening
Your body temperature will likely increase all through the day, which might cause your strength and endurance level to peak in the evening. Since your muscles are more flexible in the evening, there will be an improvement in your physical performance and fewer chances of sprains. On the other hand, your muscles are likely to be stiff and prone to injuries in the morning.
2. Varying hormone levels through the day
The hormone testosterone, responsible for developing strength and muscle growth in both men and women, is produced more by exercising in the evening than in the morning. A 2016 study has shown that a combination of endurance and strength training done in the evening could be more beneficial in promoting muscle growth than that performed in the morning. Moreover, the hormone cortisol that facilitates in storing fat is at its highest levels in the morning. It gradually decreases and reaches its lowest levels during your evening workout session.
3. The time of a meal (before or after eating)
After sleeping overnight, your body is dependent on fat as the primary source of energy. Therefore, if you work out in the morning, before having breakfast, you should ideally burn more fat than exercising in the evening. However, scientific studies have shown conflicting results.
One research shows that working out in the morning before breakfast controls your appetite and makes you eat less all through the day, thereby helping you to burn more fat. But, according to another study, people tend to work harder later in the afternoon and evening, expending more energy and causing greater weight loss than in the morning.
However, it is never recommended to exercise immediately after a heavy meal.
4. Effects on sleep and bedtime
A 2014 study showed that performing vigorous exercises within one-and-a-half hours of bedtime helps in falling asleep faster, and waking up in a better state of mind.
So, the bottom line remains that you need to work on finding a realistic exercise schedule and follow it consistently. Working out will always be good for your health, no matter when you are doing it.
How to Pick the Best Time of the Day for You to Exercise
Regardless of whether it is morning, evening, or night, make sure to choose a time that you can actually stick to, making daily exercise a habit.
You may take your body’s biological clock into consideration to determine when to go out for walking, jogging, cycling, or hit the gym. This is what influences your body’s temperature, heart rate, hormone levels, and blood pressure, and is thus associated with your physical performance. Apart from your job, and daily schedule, your family commitments may also be important to take into account.
Try Different Times to Know What Suits You
You may perform your workouts in the morning for a few days, then do them at noon for the same number of days, and finally, try them in the evening. Select the time that made you feel best. To establish a habit, you may change some of the workouts you do as adding variety to the routine might make you more likely to stick to it.