Morning, Noon, or Night: What is the Best Time to Exercise?

A critical question for many (if not all) of us, determining the best time to exercise can affect eating habits, sleep habits, and mood to unexpected degrees. For the habitual “morning person”, boosting the heart rate before 6am is a requirement for having a fruitful, productive day. For others, breaking a sweat before noon simply “ain’t gonna’ happen”, and still others will only work out following their evening meal.

While there is no reliable evidence to suggest that calories are burned more efficiently at certain times of day, when you choose to work out can definitely influence how you feel during exercise, according to

Finding the Right Environment for Exercise

A great deal of your affinity for exercise will be determined by your circadian rhythm, the sleep/wake cycle (or body clock) of your body that largely is determined by the daily rotation of the planet we live on. These rhythms influence virtually all your bodily functions, such as: blood pressure, body temperature, hormone levels, and heart rate, all of which play a role in your body’s readiness for exercise.

Several factors should be taken into consideration when determining your best time of day to exercise, including:

  • Location
  • Weather
  • Type of physical activity
  • Social setting

“The best time of the day is when you will do it most consistently, because the benefits of physical activity are tightly linked to the amount you do on a consistent basis,” said Russell Pate, Ph.D., an American Heart Association volunteer.

Beyond these, your sleep patterns are also very important. Since exercise tends to rev up the body so well, the later in the day you work out the more it can affect your ability to fall asleep at night. Of course, if you tend to suffer from afternoon lethargy at the office, a quick 20-30 minutes on the treadmill around lunchtime may give you just the boost you need to finish your workday on an up-note.

Then too, if you have trouble falling asleep, adding some exercise to your daily routine will likely help you – regardless of the time of day you choose to work out.

Whatever you decide is the best time to exercise for you, the American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes (2 ½ hours) a week of moderate-intensity, or 75 minutes (1 ¼ hours) a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity.

What time of day to you most like to exercise, and why? Please share your comments below.

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