Is There A “Best” Time To Workout? Experts Chime In
There are many reasons I have a healthy envy of "early risers." One of the reasons is their ability to rise with the chickens and get in their workout before the pressures of the day. Especially my fellow women. Why? Well, I certainly don't mean to generalize. But generally ;), most women I know have a few extra steps when it comes to getting ready in the morning. So, the idea of getting up and getting that exercise with all of that sweating out of the way before hopping in the shower to prepare for the day sounds marvelous.
I say it "sounds" marvelous because I've never been able to to do it myself. Maybe it's due to all of those years of dance and drill team in the afternoon that put my body into an "afternoon is for exercising" mode. Thus, that means I basically have to get ready twice. But I digress.
For years I've heard it's always better to exercise in the morning. However, studies reveal that are perks to both getting the workout in first thing and doing later in the day. Thank goodness. So what are the pros of each?
Pros Of An AM Workout:
Some people find they have more energy in the morning. You've just had a (hopefully) full night's sleep. A morning perk? A published study in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise showed evidence that it will help increase your energy levels throughout the day. On top of that, you've set a healthy tone for the day, which may encourage you to continue making healthy choices throughout.
You'll also enjoys the benefits of "increased blood flow, which enhances mental capacity and productivity," according to the director of education for StretchLab, Austin Martinez. It may also help lower your stress levels, as well as your blood pressure.
The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism published a study in 2019 that, according to writer Suja Natarajan, "found that exercising in a fasting state burned more fat and helped control blood sugar in obese men." One would hope the same is true for women, of course.
Pros Of A PM Workout:
So, if you're not an early exerciser, don't fret. Turns out there are unique benefits to working out later in the day--but not too late, of course. Working out too intensely within an hour before bedtime could do a number on your sleep.
Another study published in the Journal of Sports Sciences revealed that when it comes to optimal "reaction time," the afternoon and early evening are ideal. What does reaction time help with? Endurance and stamina--which is what you want when delving into HIIT training.
Some research even suggests that muscle training in the evening may help with developing muscle mass. One more big benefit? A better capacity for higher performance when doing high-intensity workouts because your core temperature is at its peak in the late afternoon.
Well, I'm relieved to hear that. Although, I think the benefits of the morning workout have inspired me to at least try a couple of times a week to attempt an AM training session--but not too early. ;)
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