Some of us are pretty flexible when it comes to our workout schedules, but if you’re anything like me, there’s a specific time of day you dedicate for this kind of activity. Personally, I like to workout later on in the day—I savor cozy mornings in PJs, and always feel like I have more energy to work out after work.
A lot of my friends—actually, most people I know—are the complete opposite of me, and love to workout first thing in the morning. I hadn’t really thought that there might be different benefits to working out at various times of the day, but it turns out there are!
Benefits of morning workouts:
Increase your energy – If you’re looking for some extra energy (sans caffeine), try the a.m.. Exercising in the morning wakes up your body, both physically and mentally, and will actually give you more sustained energy throughout your day. If you’re really looking to maximize your morning workout, take it outside. There’s no better wake-up call than getting active with some sunshine and fresh air on the side first thing in the morning.
Boost your metabolism – Exercising in the morning boosts your metabolism and will help you burn more calories during your workout and throughout the day. When you first wake up, you’re coming off a fast of probably somewhere around 8-12 hours without any food. When you work out on an empty stomach first thing in the morning, your body has to use its own stored fat as energy during your workout. This means you’ll be burning more of your body’s energy (fat!) vs. any food you just ate.
Improve your mood – This is because working out gets your blood moving and muscles activated, triggering feel-good hormones in your body. And the best part is that you don’t need to spend hours in the gym to reap this benefit—even a quick morning walk will release them!
Benefits of evening workouts:
Fall asleep easier – Tiring your body out in the evening is a great way to prepare for a deeper sleep. If you have a hard time falling and staying asleep, one thing to be careful about is the type of workouts you’re doing in the evening; it’s probably better to opt for a more calming activity, like yoga, if possible. Doing any type of cardio in the evening might give you unwanted energy (at that time of day).
You’ll workout harder – Since you’re most likely still pretty groggy first thing in the morning, chances are you’ll work harder during an evening workout. Because of this, it might be a good idea to save those tougher workouts or weight training for after work, and do more mindless activities (like running) first thing in the morning.
Decrease stress – Since working out requires you to focus on the activity at hand, it will take your mind off the stresses of the day—especially if you had a stressful one. Physical activity has also been shown to produce endorphins, chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers.
Have you noticed any other benefits from working out in the morning vs. evening? I’d love to hear!