Exercise is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle, but finding the time and motivation to do it can be a challenge. However, beyond the question of whether we have time to exercise, is the issue of when to exercise. It is essential to understand the benefits of choosing the right time of day to work out. In this article, we’ll explore the pros and cons of exercising at different times of day and help you determine the best time for you.
Morning, Midday, or Night: Finding the Best Time of Day to Exercise for You
The best time to exercise depends largely on your personal preferences and lifestyle considerations. Many people find that they perform better in the morning, while others prefer to work out later in the day. Some have no choice but to exercise whenever they have free time, regardless of the time of day.
If you have the freedom to choose when you exercise, it’s essential to consider when you have the most energy, motivation, and focus.
The Science Behind Choosing the Best Time to Exercise
Research studies have shown that exercise timing can have different effects on the body and mind, which can impact performance, muscle recovery, and even mood. These effects are linked to the body’s natural circadian rhythms and cortisol levels, the stress hormone that influences the body’s response to exercise.
The body’s natural circadian rhythm regulates the sleep-wake cycle and other physiological processes. It can also affect the way the body responds to exercise at different times of day. Studies have shown that the body’s core temperature is at its lowest in the early morning, which can impact performance but also has benefits for weight loss, insulin sensitivity, and metabolism.
On the other hand, cortisol levels are at their highest in the morning, which can also affect exercise performance. However, cortisol levels decrease throughout the day, making midday a good time for high-intensity workouts. In contrast, cortisol levels are very low in the evening, which can make it more challenging to achieve high-intensity workouts. However, exercise in the evening can help with muscle recovery and relaxation, making it a suitable time for yoga and other low-impact exercises.
Maximizing Your Workout: Time of Day Edition
The timing of your workouts can also impact the type of exercise that you should be doing. For example, high-intensity workouts are best done in the afternoon or early evening when the body’s temperature and cortisol levels are at their peak, while low-impact exercises such as yoga are best done in the evening when cortisol levels are low.
Tips for maximizing your workout based on the time of day include things like eating before your workout, staying hydrated, and stretching before and after your workout.
Fitting Exercise into a Busy Schedule: Tips for Early Birds, Night Owls, and Inbetweeners
One of the biggest challenges of exercising regularly is fitting it into a busy schedule. However, no matter what your schedule looks like, it is always possible to find time for exercise.
For early birds, tips for fitting in a morning workout include getting enough sleep, preparing your workout clothes and gear the night before, and doing a light warm-up before starting your workout to wake up the body and reduce the risk of injury.
For night owls, tips for fitting in an evening workout include choosing activities that require little or no equipment such as bodyweight exercises or running, eating a light meal at least an hour before your workout, and doing a light cooldown after your workout to signal to your body that it’s time to start winding down.
The Best Time to Exercise for Specific Goals
Aside from personal preferences and lifestyle considerations, the best time to exercise may also depend on your fitness goals.
For those looking to lose weight, exercising before breakfast may be beneficial as it can help jumpstart your metabolism. For those looking to build muscle, exercising in the late afternoon or early evening may be better as muscle strength and endurance tends to be higher at this time. For those looking to relieve stress, exercising in the evening can be an excellent way to unwind and physically release tension before bedtime.
So, what is the best time of day to exercise? Ultimately, it depends on your personal preferences, lifestyle, and fitness goals. Now that you know the advantages and disadvantages of exercising at different times of day, you can determine which time works best for you. Keep in mind that no matter what time of day you choose to exercise, the most crucial factor is consistency. Making regular exercise a part of your routine and sticking to it is key to achieving your fitness goals and leading a healthy life.