Some people swear by an early morning jog, while others love to hit up a workout after a long day at work, so who is right?
Is there a specific time that is better for exercising?
New research shows that there is a best time of the day to exercise.
The Best Time to Workout
As you go throughout your day, your body’s internal energy system changes and adapts to its environment.
This interactive system changes throughout the day, it's called your circadian rhythm. Included in this daily cycle is your body’s internal temperature, which fluctuates throughout the day.
Research shows that the best time of the day to workout is when the body’s temperature is at its peak. For most, this is during the mid-afternoon, between 2:00 and 4:00 pm.
When your body is at peak body temperature, it moves better. Joints are better warmed up, muscles are easier to stretch, and your body is ready to expend energy.
During this time of the day you have your best capacity to move and do dynamic exercise (this would include Crossfit workouts, olympic lifting, etc...).
Additionally, your nervous system and hormone production reach their peak at this time of the day. Essentially, your system is primed and ready to go.
All of these factors make mid-afternoon the best time of the day to train.
Is The Mid-Afternoon the Right Time for You?
While the afternoon might be the best time to train, is it the best time for you?
If you are like most people and have a hectic, busy schedule, working out in the middle of the afternoon is not feasible. Hitting that 2-4pm time window can be downright impossible.
So what are your alternatives, is an early morning run or a late night weight-lifting session still beneficial?
Despite the research, the best time to workout is when you have time!
The best kind of workout is the one that you actually do. Don’t worry so much about the time of day, simply focus on putting the work in.
Setting up a consistent workout routine is the best thing you can do when it comes to maintaining your health.
If you can’t fit in that mid-afternoon workout, below are some pro’s and cons on morning and evening workouts and how you can incorporate them into your schedule.
The Key to a Good Morning Workout
For morning workouts, one of the key things is to make sure that you are fully warmed up before you start.
In the mornings, your body’s temperature is at it’s lowest, which means your joints, tendons, and muscles will all need a little extra warming up. A good way to do this is by creating a morning routine.
To protect against injury, make sure to spend a little extra time warming up the areas of your body that you plan to work.
For example, if you plan on going on an early morning run, a solid warmup would include stretching your ankles, calves, and hips. You might also add in a few minutes of dynamic running drills (such as butt-kicks, high knees, and light sprints) before you hit the pavement.
Doing little warmups like this are key to improving the quality of your workout and reducing your potential for injury.
Besides the extra precaution for warming up, morning workouts are a great option for those trying to get on a regular exercise routine. Getting your fitness on early in your day gives you energy for the rest of your day.
Morning workouts are also a great option for those that struggle with sticking with a consistent exercise routine, since your motivation tends to be highest in the morning after a good night’s sleep.
If you are new to exercising, check out this article with helpful workout tips.
Working Out Later in the Day
Working out later in the afternoon or at night can be a great option for those that have a busy schedule.
Energy and motivation tends to lessen the further you get into your day, so working out later on can be a bit tricker to get into.
While a night time gym routine can be be difficult to get started, a benefit of working out after work is that it allows you to destress and blow off steam from your work day..
Another benefit of night time exercising is that most people tend to have more free time later in the day, so you won’t feel like you have to rush through your workout so that you can get to the office on time.
Night time workouts can also be beneficial in aiding you in falling asleep, since it tires out your body (just don’t workout within two hours of your planned bedtime!).
For those working out at night, taking Magnesium is a good idea. It has been shown to be beneficial for post-workout recovery.
It can also help ease cramps and relax your body, you can check out a great magnesium supplement here.
So what’s stopping you? Get started on your fitness routine!
Remember that the only bad workout is a missed workout.
Whether in the morning, afternoon, or at night, every workout you get in is beneficial to your body and goes a long way towards helping you achieve your goals of health and wellness.
Daniel Powers is a health and fitness enthusiast. He has a degree is business and has allowed his passion for entrepreneurship flow into researching health topics. Outside of work, Daniel enjoys Crossfit, reading large books, and drinking coffee.