Studies have found that people who exercised in the morning were more likely to persist with their exercise routine. They found it easier to stick with the program before the distractions of the day began to intrude. There are also claims that exercising in the morning is more effective for weight loss as it gave a kick start to the metabolism. Blood sugar levels are low so the body converts fat to fuel to meet its energy needs. In addition fat burning hormones are at higher levels earlier in the day. Many people report benefits to their levels of concentration during the day and many super high achievers exercise before 6 am.
Studies also found that morning exercisers were more successful in adjusting their circadian rhythms than evening exercisers in resetting their sleep and waking cycles and establishing a rhythm which left the body most ready to exercise at that same point of each day. That means that the bodies of people who establish a pattern of waking and exercising wake ready and expecting to exercise.
If struggling out of bed when the alarm sounds is a chore you are unlikely to persevere with your exercise program. Morning exercise is not for everyone. High levels of exercise intensity before breakfast could be counter-productive forcing the body to burn muscle instead of fat in search of fuel. Because body temperature is low morning exercisers should avoid injury by warming muscles up slowly.
Lunchtime is often a good option for busy people to fit a workout or run into a hectic lifestyle. It can also help people who struggle with motivation to exercise if it is included as a social activity over a work lunch break. Walking, running or taking a class is sometimes easier with an exercise buddy to encourage you and compete with you keeping you on task and on target. Also it has been reported that strength is nearly 5% higher around mid-day. It is important to eat after exercising rather than before.
Proponents of afternoon exercise claim that exercising between 4pm and 5pm is the optimal exercising time from a physiological point of view. The body temperature is at its highest and the risk of injury is at its lowest. You are fully alert and your muscles are warm and relaxed. It has been reported that anaerobic performance (for example sprinting) can improve by around 5% in the afternoon. The pressures of modern lifestyles can impact however and afternoon exercisers were found to be less consistent than their morning counterparts.
Fans of evening exercise suggest it helps them to get a good night's sleep. There appears to be little evidence to support theories that exercising very late in the evening can adversely effect sleep. It may be difficult to commit to an exercise regime however at the end of a busy and stressful day and many people simply find themselves too tired to workout.
The good news is that regardless of the time they choose to do so anyone can experience real benefits from exercising. Guidelines recommend a minimum of 150 minutes weekly moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes vigorous activity. Moderate and vigorous activity can be combined and should be spread out over the full week. The trick is picking something which you enjoy doing at a time when it is convenient for you and maintaining a consistent program and a daily exercise schedule.