Everyone views exercising differently so the answer to the question of “When is the best time to exercise?” is whatever works the best for you. There are benefits to exercising in the morning as well as later in the day. When you exercise, is personal and as long as you do it consistently, when you do it doesn’t really matter.
Finding the right time to exercise has more to do with finding your rhythm than the benefits of when you work out. Some people are morning people. Some are night owls. Everyone has an internal body clock, known as your circadian rhythm. It is your daily sleep and wake cycle and it’s different from one person to another. This cycle helps regulate mental, physical and behavioural changes throughout a 24-hour timeframe. It affects your body temperature, metabolism and blood pressure among others.
Changes in the environment can affect your circadian rhythms and, while they can be reset, you need to be aware of their changes. Light, dark, hot, cold, artificial light, alarm clocks, when you eat and when you exercise, are all controlled by your circadian rhythms. And it can help decide when to workout.
If you are more of a morning person, then it makes sense to work out in the morning. You set yourself up for success when you work out in the morning, away from the distractions of the day. You may find that after exercising it is easier to manage your time better and you will feel like your full of energy. If you work out in the morning, give yourself time to warm up and cool down before moving on in your day. If you get dizzy, lightheaded or fatigued when you work out on an empty stomach, have a small snack, like a banana or yoghurt, before exercising.
Night owls find that exercising in the afternoon or evening help them unwind and relax from the day. It helps relieve stress and your body has already been moving through the day. You’re more alert, your body temperature is already up and your muscles are ready to work. Plus, you can have a meal prior to working out and that can help bring your energy up.
No matter what time you work out of why, keep your workout regimen consistent. Schedule your workout time based on what is best for you. Your circadian rhythms will adjust to your new workout regimen and fall into place.