Most of us choose to work out at certain times based on our daily or weekly schedules but there is evidence suggesting that the time you typically choose to work out e.g 5 p.m may influence the results you may get from your fitness regime.
Some of us are morning types, while some others are afternoon or late afternoon types. Our circadian rhythms (or biological clocks in other worlds) influence our body’s reaction to exercise in multiple ways: they influence body temperature (lower during the morning and higher in the afternoon), blood pressure, muscle strength (stronger in the afternoon), hormonal levels, heart rhythms, etc.
In a 2019 study performed by the University of North Texas, it was found that people who usually exercise in the morning at a steady frequency e.g 3 times a week, “teach” their body to be in a state of readiness for morning exercise. On the contrary, if the same people decide to suddenly switch to afternoon exercise, their performance will drop as the system will struggle to adapt to the new exercise time. Same goes for people that typically exercise in the afternoon and suddenly switch to a morning exercise routine.
There best time for exercise actually depends on the effects that you wish to get out of your exercise regime. There is no single best time for exercise as each time has its own pros and cons.
Here is what you need to know when choosing a particular time, depending on the results that you wish to achieve:
If you choose to exercise in the morning (8 a.m-11 a.m), you’ll get the benefit of enjoying a speedier metabolism (compared to afternoon hours) as well as a faster rate of burning fat cells. Another perk is that your system will be able to release endorphins which are hormones that will boost your mood throughout the day. On the downside though, muscles will not be at their peak state during the morning hours and so there is a higher risk of experiencing strain or injuries at that time.
If you choose to exercise in the afternoon (3 p.m-6p.m), your muscles will be at their peak activity and you will feel more capable of performing strength and bulking exercises while enjoying a lower risk of encountering muscle stress or injuries. However, afternoon exercise is not the best time for those whose primary goal is to lose weight and those that mainly perform cardio exercises as the metabolism of the system slows down and the breathing patterns tend to get heavier.
In a nutshell, if your primary goal is to lose weight by doing mostly cardio exercises, morning exercise is ideal whereas if you plan on increasing your strength and tone your muscles, it's better to exercise in the afternoon.