Which is better: Working out in the morning, or in the afternoon?

Morning workoutWhen someone asks a fitness trainer what time of day is best to work out, I’m pretty sure they all have different answers.  That is because the answer is different for everyone.

This seems to be one of those things that is up in the air. It is a common question that warrants a lot of research, however there is not enough consistent research for a definitive answer.

Most experts say that the best time of day to exercise depends on you. Russell Pate is a professor of exercise science at the University of South Carolina in Columbia and he says, “The benefits of physical activity are tightly linked to the amount you do on a consistent basis.”

Your best time depends on one of four factors: location, time of day, type of activity, and social setting. If you work late into the afternoon, morning could be best because your body is fresh. If you like working out in pairs, you should designate times where the two of you can meet up.  As long as you are working within your availability and habits, you already have your best time.

Although everyone has a different preference when dealing with exercise, there is research that correlates with the physical state of the body throughout the day. Studies say that it is ideal to work out in the afternoon because of your body’s temperature. Your body temperature is usually at its highest around 4-5 p.m. and at its lowest before waking up. In addition, strength and endurance are greater in the afternoon, by about five percent.

On the other hand, morning exercise keeps you consistent.  Your distractions are limited when you first wake up and your metabolism is moving at a faster pace. As a result, your body will burn more calories long after your workout is done. If you can only exercise in the morning, you’re going to benefit from doing an intense workout rather than doing a light workout or not exercising at all; your body will just need some help jump-starting. If you eat a piece of fruit or an energy bar before your morning workout, it will give your body the energy it needs to push through an intense workout.

The cool thing is that you decide the best time for you to exercise based upon your personal goals, schedule and lifestyle. More than likely you will pick a time you can stick with consistently, and make part of your daily schedule.

Photo credit: Michael Dunn

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