Should you exercise in the morning or the afternoon?
February 17, 2014
I am a morning exerciser for three reasons:
Firstly, it is a time I can count on not to be distracted. At 6.30am my family is asleep, my phone is off and my laptop is off.
Secondly, I am a morning person so I do feel alive at 6.30am.
Finally, I like to feel that I have already achieved my goal and I don’t need to spend the rest of the day trying to find room to exercise.
I know plenty of people who despise the mornings and it takes them til mid morning to appear awake. So for some people, their body rhythm will tell them when to exercise and that will make the decision easier, however I wanted to explore a little about what the science says about the question of when to exercise.
This is what the evidence/theories suggest:
As far as weight loss is concerned, there is no winner between morning and afternoon exercise.
As far as helping you sleep, there also seems to be no consensus.
As far as strength, endurance and injury protection is concerned, you are better off in the evenings.
You tend to perform best when your body is warmer, and this occurs in the afternoon. but it also depends on what sort of exercise you do.
If you are dead lifting heavy weights for example, it would make more sense to do this in the afternoon when your body is warm, as you will be less likely to injure your tissues and your flexibility will be better. If however you are striving for general fitness and doing light weights and cardio, it probably matters less what time of the day you do it.
If you exercise in the morning it is more important to spend 10 minutes warming your body perhaps on the cross trainer. What matters far more than what time of the day you exercise, is whether you exercise, so finding a time that you can commit to is the key.