Is it better to exercise in the morning or after work? Does your workout provide better overall benefits when you work out before or after a meal? And most important – can you achieve better results if you exercise at a consistent time each day?
Many researchers and exercise gurus believe that the best time of day to exercise is mid–afternoon to early evening. It is at this time that hormone levels peak, making it the best time to exercise for weight loss. During the mid-afternoon hours, flexibility, strength, muscle fitness and endurance are also believed to be at their highest levels. Many who work out at this time claim better sleep patterns as an added benefit.
Professor Tom Reilly, an expert in chronobiology and exercise at the Research Institute for Sport and Exercise Science at Liverpool John Moores University, also subscribes to the notion that late afternoon and early evening are the best times to work out. He cites the fact that most Olympic and world records are won in the late afternoon.
However, while this may be the perfect time to work out, how feasible is it for those with jobs to be able to work out at these times? While some have the luxury of stopping off at the gym on their way home from work, others are rushing home to fix dinner for their families!
Ultimately, the best time to work out is a time that you can manage to keep to on a regular basis, without finding excuses not to work out! For some, that may be morning, upon waking, even though your body is not at its peak because it hasn’t yet been properly fed and energized. Late evening is not suggested as well because your body is starting to wind down and tire for sleep. A work out at this time tends to speed up your metabolism, disrupting proper sleep patterns.
If the best time to work out is between six and twelve hours after waking, most people who rise at 7:00 a.m. should find little trouble meeting that schedule. However, if you are a 5:00 a.m. riser, do not think for one minute that exercising outside these hours isn’t worth the trouble. After all, working out at any time of day is far better than not working out at all!
Dr. Steven L. Levy is a chiropractor in Woodbury.