The debate over whether morning or evening workouts are best continues, but new data suggest that outcomes are not measurably improved by choosing one time of day over the others. More important to the success of your workout is choosing a time that works best for your circadian rhythm and your scheduling needs.
Morning Exercise Pros
The American Council on Exercise finds that morning exercise establishes more consistent patterns for individuals that choose this time of day for their routines. It prevents the regimen from being squeezed out by more pressing matters. Many people wake up full of energy that be utilized to maximize their workout time. The exercise helps these individuals to start the day with a positive attitude that carries them throughout the day.
Morning Exercise Cons
Morning exercise requires a longer period for warming up than routines done later in the day, because the body needs more time to gear up after the long night’s sleep. Individuals who skip this warm-up may sustain more injuries during their morning workouts. In addition, if you have trouble getting or staying asleep, a workout early in the morning may not be an appealing option.
Evening Exercise Pros
Individuals whose circadian rhythms start the day at a low ebb and increases throughout the day are more likely to benefit from an evening workout session. Their energy level is already primed throughout the day, and their muscles are warmed up and flexible, decreasing the risk of injury. Individuals who have stressful jobs, in particular, can benefit from evening workouts, which allow them to burn off the tension and increase feel-good brain chemicals. Psychologically, the evening workout can be a marker to transition between the hectic workday and more relaxed personal time.
Evening Exercise Cons
Many people come home exhausted from the workday and their commute. It can often be difficult to find the energy and motivation to get out for a run or workout on the machines. Additionally, evening exercise often generally coincides with the heavy evening meal, which can slow you down and drive more blood flow to the digestive system than to the muscles. Evening exercise can also increase circulation and energy levels, making it harder to wind down and get to sleep.
Although no firm data exists to support the advantage of either a morning or evening workout for best results, individual needs can be an important indicator of which time of day will work best for you.