Ask an expert: When’s the best time of day to exercise?
Question: When is the best time of day to exercise?
As a fitness professional, I’ve gotten this question numerous times. The short and simple answer is any time!
Here are some things to consider when planning your exercise routine. Set a day and time to exercise. Writing down when you are going to exercise will increase the likelihood of keeping with the workout. While any time of the day is ideal for exercise, it does vary from person to person.
When it comes to exercise, there are many benefits. In terms of the science behind it, these are just a few:
- A boost of feel good hormones (endorphins) for approximately 2 hours after exercise
- Increase in cardiovascular endurance
- Increase in flexibility and muscular strength
- Decrease in stress after exercise
- Blood pressure, heart rate and blood sugar all decrease after exercise
There are also different benefits for exercising at different times of the day.
Exercise in the morning is great. It leads to improved energy throughout the day and can help keep people on track with their eating habits. Also, your exercise is done for the day, which motivates a lot of people to get to the gym early and be done.
Afternoon/ lunch break exercise. Exercising midday can help you take a mental break from a challenging and stressful workday, which can boost work productivity afterwards. You also often feel better after exercise, which can lead to a healthier lunch.
Evening exercise. One can “burn off some steam” of the day and bring your workout to a higher intensity level. Working out in the evening can also lead to a more restful night’s sleep.
A few precautions after exercise:
Working out at night may lead to over eating at dinner due to energy expenditure. After exercise, it is recommended to ingest a mixture of complex carbohydrates and lean protein, along with water to replace fluids. Please note that those with diabetes have additional concerns when exercising at night. Blood sugar drops when exercising, and if it drops too low, there are serious health concerns, particularly when the individual might go to bed after exercise. Blood sugar continues to drop for about two hours, so be sure to get the information you need from your doctor or personal trainer when it comes to the timing of your exercise if you have diabetes.
The bottom line: Any time of the day is ideal to exercise. Remember–some exercise is better than none, so schedule time for your own health and well-being. Once again, it varies from person to person about which time of day works best and how your body reacts. So find out what works best for you, and stick with it!
About the Author
Jon Carlino, health enews contributer, is a personal trainer team lead at Advocate Good Shepherd Health and Fitness Center. He graduated from Northern Illinois University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology with an emphasis in Exercise Science. Jon is resolute about the benefits of exercise. His goal is to provide assistance and motivate his clients every step of the way so they can achieve their fitness goals and live a healthier lifestyle.