Working out regularly and staying in shape has gained more popularity than ever before. With offices creating dedicated areas for fitness, people make use of the gym facilities either in the morning before work or in the evening after work. But, the question that remains is when is the best time to hit the gym – mornings or evenings? While some experts feel that working out early in the morning is better, others professionals feel that evenings are more beneficial. With scientific data backing both, we look at the advantages of both and help you decide what works best for you.
Advantages Of Morning Workout
Dedicating an hour in the mornings is easy for some people as they have more activities lined up towards the evening. Hitting the gym early allows you to make time in the evenings for family and friends. Some people may even work late or get delayed in commuting or may not have the energy after a long day at work to exercise. It is easy to be regular at the gym if you workout in the mornings.
2. Less Crowded
Evenings are the rush hour at fitness centers. Gyms can get crowded and you may not have instant access to the equipment that you want. With comparatively less crowd in the mornings, you can easily complete your regime. Though 6-8 a.m. can witness an increase in footfalls, they spend less time socializing and leave quickly, making room for others.
3. More Convenient
Getting dressed does not take much time as you can even get out of bed in your track pants and hit the gym straightaway. Whereas after work, you must change from your business attire and change into gym clothes.
4. Balanced Breakfast
Working out in the morning builds your appetite, because of which your breakfast and nutritional intake is more balanced. Also, you consume more water through the day, which is a healthy habit. Working out in the morning can set you up for a healthy eating habit.
5. Sleep Better
An early morning workout ensures that you go to bed early and prevents you from staying up late at night. Just like in the old proverb, sleeping early and waking up early has plenty of health benefits. Lack of sleep can cause people to eat more. Sleep deprivation increases the stress hormone cortisol, which leads to overeating. So, to control your weight, it is important to sleep early and get sufficient sleep.
Advantages Of Evening Workout
1. Conserve Energy
For those who exercise in the mornings, getting out of bed and straight onto the treadmill, while still half asleep, may result in injury if they lose concentration. Those who exercise in the evenings, conserve the energy through the day and use it to burn fat at the end of the day. Such people have more stamina during evening workouts and they focus all their energy towards a rigorous session. Since they don’t drain their energy in the mornings, they are more energetic through the day.
2. Relieve Stress
An evening workout can be a great way to relieve stress after a tiring day at work. Increase in stress can lead to the release of the stress hormone cortisol, which makes people eat more than they should and contributes to excess weight. So, taking out the pent up anger and frustration on the gym equipment can not only help you overcome stress, but also enable you to burn more fat and sweat it out.
3. Find Partners
Finding a suitable partner for the workout is easier if you exercise in the evenings. Having a partner makes you compete with them and thereby, you sweat it out better. Not many people are willing to wake up at five in the morning just to match your pace on the treadmill. Since more people workout in the evenings, it is easier for you to find an exercise partner.
4. More Options
Gymnasiums often provide many other classes such as yoga, meditation, dance, martial arts among others, which you can sign up for. These classes may not be available early in the mornings. So, you could begin your evening with a work-out and then go in for a relaxing meditation session and return home refreshed.
5. Facilitates Vasodilation
Working out in the evening facilitates vasodilation, which supplies more blood to the tissues that need it most. Dilation of blood vessels increases the amount of heat carried by the blood to the skin, allowing the excess heat to be removed from the body. Blood vessels also constrict and conserve heat to raise body temperature. This ensures a better supply of nutrients and oxygen to the muscles and improves alertness, aids in substrate elimination and increases energy.
Scientific Reasons For A Late Afternoon Or An Early Evening Workout
Early evening is just as good a time for workout as late afternoon as your body is naturally geared for its best performance. Late evening workouts may help hypertensive patients but can also make sleeping difficult.
According to research, early evening or late afternoon is the best time to workout. You have got the day’s work out of the way and your energy levels are good enough to endure a sprint. Your flexibility, muscle strength, and short-term high-power output (think sprinting) peak in early evening close to the daily maximum in body temperature.1 The higher temperature also dilates the blood vessels and increases nerve conduction velocity, ensuring a better supply of nutrients and oxygen to the muscles and increased alertness. This in turn improves the breakdown of glycogen and glucose (in processes called glycogenolysis and glycolysis) to release more energy.2
So, here are the advantages of working out in the mornings and evenings. After weighing the advantages and disadvantages, we can conclude that working-out in the evenings is slightly more beneficial. These points should help you decide what works best for you. It also depends upon your work routine and lifestyle. So, try and allocate time for work-outs in the evenings. If that is not possible, don’t worry too much about it. Just stay committed and regular.
|↑1||Atkinson, Greg, and Thomas Reilly. “Circadian variation in sports performance.” Sports medicine 21, no. 4 (1996): 292-312.|
|↑2||Fernandes, Alan Lins, João Paulo Lopes-Silva, Rômulo Bertuzzi, Dulce Elena Casarini, Danielle Yuri Arita, David John Bishop, and Adriano Eduardo Lima-Silva. “Effect of time of day on performance, hormonal and metabolic response during a 1000-M cycling time trial.” PloS one 9, no. 10 (2014): e109954.|