For some, finding a spare hour in the day to exercise is a challenge in itself, but if you do find the time, when should you do it? Morning jogs or evening swims? Ultimately, any exercise is always a good thing, but it’s all about fitting it in with your lifestyle and times that you’re the most likely to engage with it the most!
Exercising in the morning
If you’re someone with a very busy daily schedule you’ll probably find the morning as the best time to work out. After a long exhausting day exercise may end up at the bottom of your priority list, especially if the thought of dinner is floating in your head! Making sure you exercise before everything the day throws at you means there won’t be any excuses to not go - Just half an hour in the morning is all you need!
Aside from time constraints there are also several other benefits of exercising earlier on in the day. When we workout our metabolism fires up and begins to work at a much quicker pace, setting our bodies up to burn fat more efficiently for the rest of the day. As well as this, exercising in a fasted state has also been proven to use up more stored energy than if you exercised after eating. Eating breakfast then exercising may give us more energy, but our workouts will only burn calories from the food instead of our own internal energy stores.
Later in the day
For some people, the idea of getting up early to exercise is pretty unimaginable. Sometimes sleep just sounds so much better! It’s absolutely fine to exercise in the evenings – the key thing here is consistency. There’s a lot of research out there which suggests that whatever the point of the day, exercising at the same time can eventually lead to an increased performance level as you have trained your body to expect it.
A huge factor in determining the optimum time to exercise is the body’s core temperature. In the morning our muscles are often stiff and the blood isn’t flowing through our body the same way it is after a few hours out and about. Contrast this to later in the day where we’ve had much more time to let our muscles loosen up and heart rate rise. Another benefit of working out later in the day – in particular the afternoon – is that our testosterone production is at its peak. For both men and women, hormone levels are crucial to a good performance when exercising, helping us to hit performance levels we might not be able to reach otherwise.
Make it fit your life
There is no definite best time to exercise, as different times suit different needs. If you regularly lift weights then working out later in the day might be better as your muscles are more flexible, plus you’ll have more energy from your food. In contrast, moderate cardio can be done at a lower-intensity where your energy will be used in a different way. Ultimately, all you need to do is make sure you listen to what your body tells you and remember to properly warmup and stretch before you get moving!