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The Benefits of Working Out in the Morning vs. at Night

Ahh, the big debate. Lace up in the morning, or enjoy those extra minutes of sweet, sweet sleep? I prefer to get my workout out of the way early, though I'm happy to hear that on snooze-button days, I'm not any worse off hitting the gym after work.

Sam Dulac

SHEfinds | Francesca Giordano

Whenever I am on a health kick, I try to work out as much as possible while also balancing my busy schedule. However, I always find myself asking the same question: Should I get up early and work out or go to the gym after work? The answer might not be as straightforward as you think. It actually depends on a few things.

Morning Workouts 

Those who work out in the morning are more likely to sleep better at night. Appalachian State University did a recent study, which found that morning workouts are best for you if you want a better night’s sleep. Those who ran on the treadmill at 7AM had longer and deeper sleep cycles than those who exercised at other times during the day. Those who worked out in the morning in general also spent 75% more time in the “deep sleep” stage at night.

Dr. Collier of Appalachian State University says, “The better you sleep, the better it is for your body. It increases your cardio health, decreases stress and anxiety, helps maintain your weight, and lowers your blood pressure. Plus, the more time spent in deep sleep, the more time your body has to repair itself.”

Not only are there health benefits, but you also get your workout out of the way. Working out in the morning helps you develop a pattern so that you will be more likely to hit the gym (instead of snooze) when you wake up.

Evening Workouts

If getting up at the crack of the dawn isn’t your thing, then you’ll be happy to hear that there are also benefits to working out at night. The Chronobiology International published a study that analyzed the role of the body’s internal clock on athletic performance. The research concluded that body and environmental temperature increase in the late afternoon, so therefore, so does your enzyme activity and muscular function. This means you actually get the most out of your workout between 2PM and 6PM.

Exercising after work is also beneficial because you are likely to have more energy than you would if you were working out in the morning. Working out in the evening also allows your body to relax after a rough day at work, as well as get out any stress from the day.

Because our body temperature rises in the afternoon and evening, we are less prone to getting an injury than if we work out in the morning. Morning workouts require a warm-up so that our muscles and joints are more adaptable to physical activity.

Overall, there is really no right or wrong time to work out. In general, making time to work out is beneficial to your health, so there’s no need to stress about which time is best – as long as you’re doing something active!



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