Is There Really a “Best” Time of Day to Exercise?

Posted December 31, 2012 in Fitness Tips, Healthy Lifestyle No Comments »

When Should You Workout?

Tired WomanThe short answer here is yes, there is a best time of day to exercise. The longer answer is that you may face some difficulty when it comes to finding that magical hour in which you’ll get the most out of your workout regimen. The problem is that we are all different and thus, what works for one person may not be at all ideal for another.

For example, you may hop out of bed in the morning the minute your alarm goes off, raring to go and ready to throw on your jogging shoes. On the other hand, you might have no frame of reference for people who can rise even earlier than usual to get in a workout before a full day of work.

It could be that you prefer to exercise after work as a way to refocus and relieve stress. Maybe you like to head to the gym late at night when no one else is around to get in your way. Or perhaps you enjoy the hustle and bustle of other active adults moving all around you. The point is that everyone has different wants and needs when it comes to exercise, and they could play a role in finding the best time of day to workout.

How to figure out YOUR best time of day to work out

So how can you figure out your personal “best” time of day to hit the treadmill, grab some hand weights, or join a spinning class? There are several criteria you might want to consider.

  • You may find that particular times of day work better for physical reasons. Perhaps rolling out of bed and into the gym is no good because you feel nauseous if you don’t eat before you work out, or because you’re stodgy and uncoordinated until you have your first cup of coffee. Maybe at the end of the day you feel exhausted.
  • You have heard that testosterone levels are highest in the morning, so you want to make the best of your hormone levels. This is a scientifically known fact, but how much does a high t-level actually affect your workout? Blood sugar is also lowest in the morning, and some folks can’t tolerate workout out on a nearly empty stomach, so morning workouts might not be the best choice.
  • Maybe forcing yourself to get up instead of letting your body wake naturally leaves you in a foul temper that is less than ideal where motivation is concerned. But then also consider that once you’ve completed your workout, the endorphins will probably kick your mood into hyper-happy overdrive. The tradeoff might be worth it.
  • Or it might be that you can’t exercise at night because you’re too tired after a long day of work, or alternately, because it leaves you so energized that you can’t get to sleep at night. You might be inclined to hang out with your family at night, or maybe you have a part time job. In this case it might be best to try to workout at lunch after a hearty breakfast.

Tired BodybuilderWe all react differently to exercise, so finding the golden hour can be a daunting task. However, trial and error should help you here. The more pressing concern for most people is finding the time to fit exercise into a busy schedule. In some cases, the best time of day to exercise revolves not only around when you feel like doing it, but when it is practical to do so.

For some people, this could mean rising an hour early, hitting the gym during a lunch break, or waiting until the kids are in bed. Others may have to squeeze in 10-minute speed sessions throughout the day in order to get in a full workout.

Consider your ideal workout venue

It might also be a good idea to evaluate an actual gym membership, versus seeking discount ellipticals, treadmills, and free weight sets for in-home. In this regard, price and convenience could be the deciding factor.

Before you decide that morning is the best time simply because that’s when your spouse exercises, or that going to the gym after work will produce the best results because that’s when classes are scheduled, you need to consider several factors that may play a role in maximizing your efforts and your results. In this way you can truly select the perfect time for you daily workout.

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