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The Best Time of Day to Exercise?

Yes, there is a best time of day to exercise and it is whatever time works best for you! Finding time in our busy schedules can be a challenge, but squeezing in a workout anytime during the day is a win and offers many health perks.

Early Risers
If you like to get moving early in the morning, chief science officer of the American Council on Exercise, Cedric Bryant, PhD says “morning exercisers are most likely to bank a workout because they get it done before work/life/friends get in the way”. So if you know you have a busy routine throughout the day and something can easily deter you from hitting the gym, an early morning routine may work best for you.

Mid-Morning
If you are not an early riser, maybe a mid-morning workout is good for you. Exercising mid-morning can help curb your body’s production of ghrelin, the hunger hormone, allowing you to make healthy eating choices during lunch with smaller serving sizes.

Afternoon
Want to avoid the 3:00PM slump and stay alert at your desk throughout the day? Then a lunchtime workout may be up your alley. When you exercise, extra blood gets pumped to your brain and stimulates the production of chemicals and hormones that help improve concentration and reasoning skills.

Evening
Having trouble sleeping at night? If improvement on sleep is what you are looking for, then an afternoon workout may be for you. According to a new study in the Journal of Physiology, “exercising in the afternoon may help optimize your circadian rhythms, helping you sleep more soundly at night”.

Interested in boosting your strength training results? Then try an evening workout! In the late afternoon, our body’s testosterone level peaks at this time. Also, our body temperatures tend to be at their highest, which makes our muscles more flexible.

Those exercising at night should take care not to engage in high intensity exercise right before bed. Studies indicate that keeping your workouts calm i.e. yoga) before bed will help lower cortisol levels, which in turn may help reduce anxiety and make it easier to fall asleep. An intense late night workout can make it tough to rest and drift off to sleep.

So now, what is the best time of day for your workout? It’s whatever time works best for you! Grab a partner, some good tunes, your dog, whatever it takes – and just get moving.


Plosser, Liz. “Is There a Best Time of Day to Exercise?” Cosmopolitan April 2013: 180. Print