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What Time Should I Work Out?

By Rachel Carver

We know daily exercise is important. We might not be hitting the gym right now, but brisk walks, using a cardio machine in your basement, or getting your move on to a fun exercise video keep the blood flowing.

Between working at home and helping your kids with virtual learning, when is the best time to squeeze in a good workout? Choosing your workout time will depend on your overall health goals.

Morning Workouts

Morning workouts give you many logistical advantages. Starting your day with a workout gets it done and out of the way. This also gives you endorphins, leaving you feeling good for accomplishing something before 9 a.m. Setting the alarm for an early workout also frees up your afternoon and evening for socializing, cooking, or watching your favorite show. Science shows morning exercises help people move more throughout the day and increase metabolism. Studies also show early exercisers can burn up to 20 percent more fat on an empty stomach.

Afternoon and Evening Workouts

While morning workouts sound ideal, choosing an afternoon or evening time also can be beneficial. Evening workouts mean sleeping in a little later in the morning. Studies show your body's performance peaks in the afternoon. Body temperature increases throughout the day, optimizing muscle function and strength, enzyme activity, and endurance. Your body temperature reaches its highest point between 2 and 6 p.m. With this in mind, you can argue your body is the most ready during this time, giving you the best workout quality. You also use your body's resources more slowly in the afternoon because your oxygen is more plentiful. Morning workouts might mean more warm-up time, which could take away from your overall exercise goal.

Your reaction time is at its quickest in the afternoon. This is important for high-intensity interval training exercises or outdoor running. Your heart rate and blood pressure are at their lowest in the late afternoon. This decreases injury chances and improves overall performance.

Some experts share that evening workouts can disrupt sleep. However, even vigorous exercise two hours before bed does not impact the sleep of some people. Evening workouts can increase body temperature. A cool down after the workout might make you feel sleepy, just like time after a warm bath before you actually fall asleep.

The Verdict

Science seems to conflict. It is important to find an exercise time that works for you and to stick to a schedule. Keeping your workout time consistent will give you more from each session.

To learn more about quality exercises, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Baltimore, Md.

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