There are debates constantly going on of whether working out in the morning or evening is better. I wish I could tell you it is black and white and a clear choice, but they actually both have their benefits. We are going to look at both for a look at what you should be doing.
There are multiple studies that show different bonuses to doing a morning workout.
In one study, people who exercised in the morning at 7:00 am for 30 minutes verses around the same time at night saw a 10% decrease in blood pressure that carried throughout their day. Also, there was a 25% decrease in blood pressure at night.
There are studies also showing that people sleep better at night when they workout in the morning. Some people speculate that this could be because going outside to run, or even just the quick hit of daylight on your way to the gym, is setting your circadian rhythm kind of like an internal clock.
Other studies show that testosterone receptivity is higher in the morning. So, if putting on more muscle mass is the goal, then morning may be slightly better.
Some studies also suggest that when you workout first thing in the morning, you tend to burn more calories throughout the day.
Other benefits to working out in the morning include:
- You get it done first things, so you have less chances of bailing after work or letting other activities get in your way. This means better adherence to your workout program.
- It can help wake you up and get you ready for the day.
- You start the day healthy which means you may make better food choices, after that intense workout.
- If you are hyperactive or someone with ADHD, morning exercise could help get some of your energy out and help focus you for the coming day.
Just as there are benefits of working out in the morning, there are also some benefits to working out later in the day. Some of these are:
Studies are showing a greater oxygen demand of up to 6% and a greater uptake of oxygen, while working out in the evening of up to 4% also time to exhaustion was also about 20% higher. In other words, you can get a longer workout in without losing your energy.
Some studies are even showing that menopausal women lose more weight from evening exercise than morning exercise.
One of the best reasons to workout in the evening is that your body’s temperature is higher, and therefore muscles are more warmed up after a day of being out and about. Furthermore, strength and endurance are better in the afternoon or evening, which may reduce risk of injury. Flexibility is also better in the evening due to the warmer body temperatures. Sure, you can just do a longer warm up in the morning, but there is something to be said for letting your body wake up and warm up gradually throughout the day.
Stress relief from the long day can be a great benefit to later day workouts. It can be a time to let out all the steam from dealing with people who may annoy you all day.
The Low Down
There are going to be benefits to both times of the day, but it really comes down to what is the best time of day for you. What is the time of day you feel best, what time of day do you think you will stay the most consistent with? While there are benefits of working out earlier or later, the important part of this is that you do some exercise regardless of what time of day it is.
Another thing to keep in mind while deciding what time of day you would like to create your workout habit, is if you are competing in a specific sport you may want to think about what time of day your competitions will normally occur. If you are into marathons, then you would probably want to be in the habit of early morning workouts.
The most important part is to get a workout in. Even though we see studies that shows a specific benefit is more pronounced at a certain time, it does not mean that you will not get any of those benefits if you are working out at a different time of day. For example, just because studies show that menopausal women were losing more weight by working out in the evening does not mean that you will not lose plenty of weight by doing a morning workout. It is just showing that one may be slightly more beneficial for that. But that should not be enough to force yourself to do evening workouts if you are a morning person. Find what works for you. What time of day you enjoy the best. That will be your best indicator of how well you will stick with it. Just do something!
ResourcesEarly morning exercise is best for reducing blood pressure and improving sleep