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When is the Best Time to Work Out?

written by: Nichole Bolton • edited by: lrohner • updated: 7/6/2011

When starting an exercise plan, it is common to wonder, "When is the best time to work out?" Some people prefer exercise in the morning, while others enjoy it later in the day. Because of different preferences, opinions on the ideal exercise time vary depending on who is asked.

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    When to Work Out

    When is the Best Time to Work Out? Image Credit: redlionhoteldenver There is still not a lot of research on when the best time to work out is. Opinions vary, but many athletes and bodybuilders prefer to exercise first thing in the morning upon waking. Morning exercise can be difficult when first starting, but research has shown that it is possible to adapt so that the body is prepared for exercise right after waking up. It is also noted that morning exercisers may be more likely to stick to a long-term plan than people who work out later in the day.

    Afternoon exercise is ideal for a number of people, especially those who do not function well early in the morning. Some studies suggest that exercising is most beneficial when the body's temperature is at its highest point during the day, usually around 4 to 5 in the afternoon. Strength and endurance are also thought to be higher at this point in the day, and the risk of injuries is decreased. Because of these reasons, many people prefer to wait until the late afternoon to begin working out.

    People who feel most productive at night time may choose to exercise in the evening or before bed. This can work out well for people who are busy for most of the day, but exercising at night may effect one's ability to fall asleep. People who feel groggy and tired by the evening time may experience low energy levels that prevent them from reaching their maximum potential during a work out.

    When training for a fitness competition or event, the ideal time to work out is generally around the same time of the day that the event will occur. This helps the body to adapt to exercising at that time of day, decreasing the chances that the athlete will end up fatigued when it is time to compete. This means that if someone is training for a marathon that will occur at 2 PM, they should run each day around the same time.

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    Opinions vary on when it is the best time to work out, although some research points to the late afternoon being ideal for most people. It is important to listen to the body when exercising, and choose the time of day that works best for each individual's life and schedules. Morning people will benefit from using their early morning energy towards exercise and then having the rest of the day to go about their schedule, while night people are easily able to fit in a work out after they've completed their daily tasks. Listening to the body will help athletes to understand when they have the most energy and motivation to exercise.

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    References

    That's Fit: What is the Best Time for a Work Out? - http://www.thatsfit.ca/2009/03/09/ask-a-fitness-expert-what-is-the-best-time-for-a-workout/

    American Council on Exercise: The Best Time to Exercise - http://www.acefitness.org/fitfacts/fitfacts_display.aspx?itemid=53

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    Photo Credit

    Image courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/43536733@N03/4009413538/.