Are you a night owl or a lark? Your body clock can affect when you take your exercise. Does the time of day for your workout make any difference to its effectiveness?
WHAT ARE THE EFFECTS OF MORNING EXERCISE?
As well as getting exercise done and dusted, there is another reason that morning exercise can work well. Studies show that training ‘fasted’, that is on an empty stomach, can make for a more effective workout. This is obviously much easier to do in the morning.
As mornings are generally a less popular time for a workout, you are also much more likely to get the gym machine or class space that you want. Winter runs are also more pleasant in the morning as the sky lightens – most of us won’t be out of work before dark in the colder months.
WHAT DOES EVENING EXERCISE DO FOR US?
A post-work gym session or run is a great way to blow away those office cobwebs. With all the deadlines met for the day, it also allows us to stay longer at our exercise without feeling rushed. There is also evidence that moderate exercise in the evening can help to improve sleep quality.
WHAT PROBLEMS CAN ARISE WITH MORNINGS OR EVENING EXERCISE?
Morning exercise can be a bit rushed, which raises the temptation to skip the all-important warm-up. That increases the risk of injury.
Over-vigorous exercise too close to bedtime can make it difficult to get to sleep. If your heart-rate is still raised your body will not be receiving its sleep cues.
SO WHICH IS BETTER?
The only bad exercise is the exercise that you don’t do! As long as your workout is in your schedule somewhere, that is all that matters. Weigh up the benefits of different times of the day, match it with what suits you and that will get it done.