It's that time of year again. Perhaps you received an exercise bike, treadmill, new gym attire or diet cookbook for Christmas. So many of us make New Year resolutions to diet, exercise, lose weight and live a healthier lifestyle in the coming year. Whether you're committed to starting a new exercise regimen or maintain your existing program, is there an ideal time of day to exercise?
Most people lead busy schedules and finding the time to squeeze in an exercise plan can be difficult. Some experts recommend a morning workout as you're not likely to have a scheduling conflict. A morning workout can help you also start your day with a clear mind and feel more focused. Many also claim following regular morning routines they have more energy throughout the day.
People also say that exercising before breakfast allows them to lose weight faster. After a night's sleep, our bodies rely on stored fat as primary fuel so exercising before a meal thus burning more fat. Research shows this is not necessarily accurate. Over a four-week period, those who exercise before a meal and those who exercise after a meal ultimately lost the same amount of fat mass. Additional research also shows that people who exercised in the morning tend to eat less throughout the day and losing slightly more weight than the evening exercise group.
Potential Benefits of morning exercise
- More energy
- Feel focused
- Burn more fat
- Less calories consumed during the day
However, it is also proven that we have more energy later in the day. Over time, this allows us to use more energy during an afternoon or evening workout potentially leading to greater long-term weight loss than with morning exercise.
Evening workouts may allow us not to feel rushed and pressed for time to get to that early morning meeting or see the kids off to school which in turn allows us to spend more time on our exercise regimen. As the day progresses, we also tend to incur various levels of stress. Exercise is a great way to combat against the daily effects of stress. It is also shown that we don't feel as hungry following a workout so likely we'll eat a smaller meal following a workout and not go to bed on an over full stomach. But be sure to replenish fluids and electrolytes.
Benefits of evening workout
- More energy equals harder workout
- Longer workout
- Reduce daily stress
- Smaller evening meals
Regardless of the time of day we choose to exercise, it all comes down to consistency. Regular workouts allow us to lead a fit lifestyle with healthy benefits either way. Exercising can lead to a rested night's sleep which benefits your heart, weight and mind. Because there are benefits to exercising at any time of day, choose your workout time based on what's best for you and works with your schedule.