When Time is Optimal for Exercise?

Woman exercising on the beachThe early bird catches the worm – a familiar term we’re used to hearing, especially when being woken up for school by our parents in the early hours of the morning.

But does this phrase hold true for physical fitness? Keep on reading to find out.

Importance of Exercise

The benefits of regular physical activity and exercise have long been proven and hold to this day. From strengthening bones to building muscle and burning body fat, physical exercise offers a wide range of advantages. Enhancing memory, improving blood flow, and building up a better immune system are just some to start with.

According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, an adult should get at least 150 minutes to 300 minutes of moderate physical exercise every week.

The Edge of the Early Worm

Smartwatch being set for time

Morning workouts, particularly on an empty stomach, is one of the best times for burning stored fat, making this time ideal for weight loss. This is mainly because the body’s hormones are set up physiologically to shed the most during that time. The same reason is attributed to the body being more energized during morning workouts.

Even if you hate early alarms, exercising as early as 7 a.m. may shift your body’s internal clock earlier, making you feel more alert during mornings. This habit also makes you feel tired at night so you go to bed early and get enough rest to get a fresh, early start and repeat the same process.

A morning workout has also been associated with better mental health, creativity, and productivity throughout the day since exercise is a great stress reliever. It is also easier to pick up and stick to healthier habits that you start with in the mornings.

However, if you are not a morning person, do not force the habit upon yourself as it could lead to an inefficient workout routine.

Afternoon Workouts are Just as Good

If you are doing an intense or rigorous routine, swinging in a workout at lunch is a good fall back option as well.

Morning workouts are best for shedding weight and losing fat. But workouts performed during the afternoon will be boosted by the energy received from the one or two meals you had eaten before starting out.

An afternoon workout is also a great way to get over the end of the day slump. Exercising between 1 pm and 4 pm can shift the body clock similar to morning workouts. Even a brisk walk can rejuvenate you and help you focus better.

Nighttime Perks

Most people only find time to work out in the evenings after work. Some people believe that exercising at night makes it difficult to fall asleep later. This is a common misconception.

As long as you are not exercising, showering, and immediately jumping into bed, you are still safe from this belief. But research conducted found that exercising between 7 pm and 10 pm does delay the body clock. Instead, other stress relieving activities performed at night can be more beneficial and help you fall asleep. These activities include meditation and yoga.

How to Make Your Workout More Effective

Two Men Exercising on MatNow that you know the advantage different workout times hold for you, check out the following strategies that can make you get the most from your training.

  • Don’t push your limits too much. If you have time constraints and are limited to a few hours each week, do not go for overkill within that short time frame. You should have a more patient approach and combine in other factors like sleep quality and diet if you are aiming for weight loss.
  • Shift the focus. Exercising, especially weight training, requires more focus on the quality of reps rather than the amount you do. Proper form not only leads to a better physical appearance but also prevents injury.
  • Keep challenging yourself. The progressive overload principle is a cardinal rule among trainers which states that in order for the muscle to grow stronger the body must be forced to bear greater work than it is used to. In other words, if you keep on doing what you do every day your body won’t change.
  • Learn to have fun and enjoy. Exercising for most people is just a means to an end and they only start because they feel obligated to. After a certain point, learn to have fun and enjoy instead of feeling obligated to performing repetitive tasks. If you feel the gym has become too monotonous, you can opt for other forms of exercise such as boxing or dancing which are more engaging.

The Bottom Line

Young asian man meditatingTo pick a time that is most optimal for exercise, experts recommend going for the morning sweat. Early workouts make the most of your physiology and biology and do wonders in the long run.

However, sticking to a strict schedule and time is not easy while living a demanding life that requires one to pay attention to friends and family. To get the most benefits from exercise, the best time to do it is when you will actually do it and not slack off.

Picking a time and sticking to it like a bee on honey, regardless if it is morning or evening, is the best approach. Exercising consistently at the same time each day develops a habit that is hard to lose.