Morning workouts vs. evening workouts – which helps you get the most out of your exercise? Is a dawn run around the neighbourhood helpful in jumpstarting your body to take on the day? Or is it better to exhaust yourself at the end of the day with an hour of cardio before calling it a day? Some would say there is no difference, as you would have your daily dose of physical activity anyway. We take a look at the differences between morning and evening workouts and what you stand to get out of each.
If you’re figuring out if there’s an optimal time to run during the day, you’re certainly not alone!
What you get from morning exercises:
Your bodily functions are at its lowest when you have just woken up, as sleep puts your body in a rested state. However, working out in the mornings not only helps to kick start your body for the day, it also helps you to end the day better as well, by providing better quality of sleep.
"Working out early in the morning can help to increase your energy level in the afternoon."
Pros of morning workouts
- You’re more likely to be consistent with your daily morning workout. When you get started on exercise before clocking in to work or taking care of your children, you give yourself time to focus on your physical wellbeing. As they say, health is wealth.
- Working out early in the morning can help to increase your energy level in the afternoon. The human body performs at its best in the mid-afternoon, and studies have shown that an exercise routine in the morning could help to elevate this further!
- Working out before breakfast may help the body burn fat more effectively, compared to an evening workout. Besides that, working out in the morning also jumpstarts your metabolism, resulting in you burning calories throughout the day, rather than after an evening workout when you’re sleeping (when metabolism is lower).
The challenges of morning workouts
- It’s tough to be motivated to wake up early to work out, especially if you’re not a morning person. Our lungs also function at a lower rate in the mornings, as our airways are constricted after sleeping at night – which makes getting out of the sleepy state harder.
- Your joints and muscles are stiffer when you’ve just woken up, which make them particularly prone to injuries if you exercise in the morning. Before you jump on the treadmill, be sure to do some light stretches and deep breathing to let the blood flow.
- Exercising before having breakfast could put you at risk of an earlier burn out and fatigue. At the time of waking, your body is technically running on an empty tank after hours of sleep with no food or water intake.
Exercising at night
- Studies show that exercising later in the day is much more beneficial than working out in the morning, as your bodily functions are at their best at this time – so you’ll have more energy and more strength for an optimal workout. However, many find it harder to exercise after a long day at work.
Here’s what happens when you work out later in the day:
Pros of working out at night
"You'll likely have more energy to exercise in the second half of the day, compared to the first thing in the morning."
- Your body temperature is highest in the evening. Muscles and joints are up to 20% more flexible this time compared to in the morning, which makes it easier and less of a strain to exercise. Chances of injuries during exercise is also lower than morning workouts.
- You’ll likely have more energy to exercise in the second half of the day, compared to the first thing in the morning. Not only that, your metabolism and lung functions are also working best in the late afternoon/evening, so you would have more strength and endurance to last through your cardio workout session.
- Exercising in the evening gives you an outlet of stress release from the day’s work. You’ll also have a clearer mind to work out as it would be your final task for the day before hitting the sack.
The challenges of working out at night
- It is easier to call off an evening exercise session by using work or tiredness as an excuse. Occasionally there are unexpected work or family demands which take precedence as well, making evening workout routines more difficult to schedule than morning workouts.
- Working out too close to your bedtime could make it harder to fall asleep. After a workout, your body temperature, metabolism and heart rate are elevated, which may interrupt your body’s ability to go into a rested state. Try some light stretches or yoga before sleeping to overcome this.
- Options of workouts at night may be limited. For example, there are only a few hours of daylight for you to be able to squeeze in time for running or a jog in the park. Likewise, gyms are also generally more crowded after office hours.
At the end of the day, there are undeniable advantages for working out in the morning or evening. Which you choose depends on your choice, lifestyle and time management. It is not necessary to stick to only one time for your workout, but it does help in building a habit of regular exercise. Be flexible with your workout routine and remember that every effort counts!