When Is the Best Time of Day to Exercise?

Posted by Perspectives Blog Team on Sep 2, 2016 11:06:07 AM

morning_run_660px.jpgShould you work out in the morning? Or wait until later in the day? Find out if timing makes a difference.

Working out, no matter when you do it, is good for your health. But is there a time of day that’s better to get it done? Most experts agree that the best time of day to exercise is the time when you will do it most consistently.

The key to exercise’s benefits is to do it on a regular basis. So whenever you’re most likely to stick with it, that’s the best time of day to exercise for you.

There are some differences in how the time of day affects your performance and other factors, but the differences are minor compared to the importance of finding a time that you’ll stick with. If you feel you can get your workout completed at any time of day, here are a few things to consider when you’re deciding between early and late workout sessions:

Morning—Research shows your tolerance for pain may be higher earlier in the morning. Keep in mind, however, that your body temperature is lower after you wake up, which can leave you stiffer and less flexible. This leads to a greater chance of injury.

Working out early in the day gets your metabolism going, which can help you burn more calories, even at rest. It also makes it more likely that you’ll make healthy eating choices throughout the day.

Fans of morning workouts also say it’s easier to get your workout done without distractions or commitments coming up that can derail your best intentions.

Late Afternoon/EveningExercise performance peaks between 4-8 p.m. for most people because it’s when body temperature is highest, and heart rate and blood pressure are lowest. You’ll have greater blood flow to your muscles, higher lung capacity and increased flexibility at this time. Hand-eye coordination and reaction times are also better.

Ratings of perceived exhaustion (RPE) are also at their lowest later in the day, which means you may be able to exercise harder or for longer periods of time.

You should avoid exercise within 3 hours of bedtime, though, so it doesn’t disrupt your sleep.

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Review Date: August 19, 2016
Reviewed By: Andrew Overman, PT, DPT, MS, COMT, CSCS
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Topics: Fitness

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Perspectives highlights the expertise and services provided by the physicians, specialists, nurses and other healthcare providers at Einstein Healthcare Network. Through this blog, we share information about new treatments and technologies, top-tier clinical teams and the day-to-day interactions that reinforce our commitment to delivering quality care with compassion. Here, you will also find practical advice for championing your health and wellness.

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