Should I go for a morning workout or an evening workout?
This is one of those debates that could go on indefinitely, like the “chicken or the egg” conundrum.
However, I would say that working out in the morning or evening is always good for your health even if one time has advantages over the other.
Does the early bird always get the worm?
Well, not necessary when it comes to working out. In fact, research shows that there are benefits to both morning workout and evening workout. So you need to find out which time is right for you?
So if you are planning to start a new exercise regime, you need to create a schedule for yourself that will provide you with maximum benefits.
Here is some information that will help you decide if it is best for you to go for a morning or an evening routine.
Morning Workout or Evening Workout
While there is no definitive answer as to when you should workout, there are clear advantages and disadvantages to both morning workout and evening workout. Let’s break it down.
The Pros of a Morning Workout
1. Boosts your energy for the rest of the day
Working out in the morning boosts endorphins and other mood-elevating hormones that can help lift your spirits as you take on the day. Morning workout not only results in better energy levels all through the day but also gives you more mental alertness and sharpness.
2. A better night’s sleep
According to the research carried out by health researchers at Appalachian State University, exercising in the morning helps you sleep better at night.
3. Helps you stick to a routine
Working out in the morning helps maintain a regular habit and thus keeps you physically active. The reason being, that you are less likely to skip workouts due to scheduling conflicts or other hassles. Don’t forget that Consistency is the key.
4. Lose more weight
A morning workout wakes you entire body up and boosts your metabolism. Hence you are likely to lose more weight when exercising in the morning as compared to the evening. Furthermore, if you don’t eat carbs in breakfast you will burn even more fat after a morning workout.Morning workouts result in better energy levels and give you more mental alertness and sharpness. Click To Tweet
Let’s have a look at the study that proves the benefits of exercising in the morning:
A study has shown that morning workout is best to reduce blood pressure and improve sleep.
Dr. Scott Collier from Appalachian State University looked at the effect that exercise has on blood pressure. Together with research assistants Kimberly Fairbrother and Ben Cartner, Collier tracked the blood pressure levels and sleep patterns of a group of people between the ages of 40-60. These individuals undertook moderate exercise three times a week for 30 minutes at a time. They exercised at three different times during the day: 7 AM, 1 PM, and 7 PM.
All of the participants who engaged in exercise in the morning hours showed a 10% reduction in blood pressure. This drop in blood pressure levels lasted throughout the day. At night these individuals slept longer, had better sleep cycles, and showed a 25% drop in blood pressure. So 7 am was the best time to exercise.
So if you are at risk of heart problems or suffering from high blood pressure or sleep problems, a morning exercise routine may be best.
The Cons of a Morning Workout
1. You have to wake up early
If you are not an early riser, getting out of the bed in the morning can be really difficult for you, especially on a regular basis. If you are not used to getting up early and force yourself to do so, you may not put in as much effort into the exercise as you would later in the day. Moreover, if you aren’t careful, you can disrupt your sleep schedule, which can lead to sleep deprivation.
2. Disrupts schedule
Hitting the gym before work can pose a challenge in terms of scheduling. If you work a 9 to 5 job, getting ready for work and commuting can cut your morning workout. At times you may be tempted to avoid exercise.
3. You need more time warming up
You need to spend more time warming up in the morning because your muscles and joints tend to stiffen. This is especially important if you plan for a more vigorous and challenging workout. According to Dr. Michael Smolensky, an adjunct professor of biomedical engineering at the University of Austin, Texas, says that joints and muscles are as much as 20% more flexible in the evening.
The Pros of an Evening Workout
1. You will have calmer mornings
Not only will you be able to catch some extra zZz’s, but you also don’t have to worry about packing your clothes for the gym, grabbing a post-workout breakfast, quickly taking a shower at the gym and rushing to work on time. That’s less stress for most of us.
2. A good way to blow off steam from the day
Had a rough day at work? Sweat out all those anxieties and frustrations at the gym. An evening workout can help you relieve all the stress and clear your mind from everything that happened during the day. It can also be looked upon as a transition period between work and home, and can help you spend good time with your family and loved ones.
3. Your body is physically more prepared in the evening
Your joints and muscles are much more flexible in the evening, which means you’re less prone to injuries.
4. You can work out for longer
Without any tension of work hanging over your head or reaching office in time, you can spend more time exercising. This means extra warm-up time, post workout stretching and longer rest periods in between sets.
5. A good sleep
I said earlier that morning workouts are best for getting a good night’s sleep, but at the same time it is also true that if you exercise at least 2 hours before bedtime, sleep comes just as easily since you’re burning off excess energy and calories. However, exercising too close to bedtime will likely have the opposite effect so try not to leave it too late!Evening workout increase your fitness levels and reduce your risk of illness related to diabetes Click To Tweet
Let’s have a look at the study that proves the benefits of exercising in the evening:
A study conducted at the Clinical Research Center of the University of Chicago found that individuals who partook in exercise after work attained a higher level of fitness than people who exercised in the morning.
The study involved taking blood samples from 40 healthy men aged between 20 to 30. The men were divided into 5 groups. Four teams completed a vigorous exercise regime in the morning, afternoon, or evening. The fifth group did not exercise at all. The researchers obtained blood samples from each of the participants to see what their levels of two endocrine hormones cortisol and thyrotropin were.
It was found that both these hormones increased to the greatest extent in the men who exercised either in the evening or late at night. It was also found that the same group of men experienced a drop in their glucose levels.
The Cons of an Evening Workout
1. Greater chances of distractions that can tempt you to skip the gym
Whether it’s drinks with friends or last minute dinner plan with your spouse, distractions are more likely to pop up in the evening, which can squeeze the workout out of your schedule. There is also a possibility that after a long day, you may feel you have no energy to work out. So you might opt to lie down on a couch and watch a movie!
2. You may have to fight the gym crowds
Don’t be surprised if in the evening you find it difficult to get the machine or a spot you want in that fitness class. Fitness facilities are generally more crowded at the end of the work day. This can make working out less efficient.
3. Exercising too close to bedtime leads to sleep disruption
If you work out too close to your bedtime, you may be affecting the quality of your sleep.
Okay, So what’s the best time to exercise?
If you are trying to find out when to exercise take a look at your goals first. If you want to improve your heart health and get a better night’s sleep, the morning workout is the way to go. However, if you wish to increase your fitness levels and reduce your risk of illness related to diabetes, an evening exercise routine is your best option.
The bottom line is that any time you work out is the best time. It is important to find a routine that works best for you and that you can perform consistently.