What is the Best Time of Day to Exercise?

Many people struggle with the idea of bouncing out of bed at the crack of dawn and hitting the treadmill. The practise has much to recommend it - empty stomach, no distractions – these are just a few of the perks. Other people find nothing more appealing than heading to the gym after a day at the office and working out.

So, what is the best time of the day to exercise?

The Definition of the Word “Exercise”

Firstly, exercise can mean different things to different people. A middle-aged couple walking their dogs around the park call what they are doing exercise. Someone who heads to their home gym for a few tricep dips before settling in for an afternoon Netflix binge also considers that exercise. Which of them is correct?

The definition of exercise according to medical terminology is when any physical activity is undertaken of a structured, pre-planned, or repetitive nature for the sole purpose of conditioning the body or improving health.

Put a “forced” in front of the word exercise and you get fat camp.

No Evidence That Certain Times Bring About Better Results

No medical research has been able to prove that you are able to burn more calories exercising at a particular time of the day. What the time you choose to exercise does contribute to, is how you feel while doing it.

Experts agree that if anyone chooses a certain time of day to exercise and persists with it 3 to 4 times a week or more, this inured habit has a bigger payoff than someone who has no specific exercise time.

Listen to You Body’s Rhythms

Everyone has a body clock that is attuned to the earth’s rotation. It is natural for us to start slowing down at sunset and gradually come awake at dawn. At least it was in the old days.

With the advent of artificial lighting, caffeine, noise pollution, and other stimulants that mess with our circadian rhythms, some of us have turned into night owls. Medical experts advise to embrace it if this is how your body handles modern life. In the time-honoured tradition of “making lemonade out of lemons” if you come alive when the sun hits the horizon in the west, that’s when you should exercise.

Before committing to an exercise routine at a regular time of day, pay attention to how your body functions and feels throughout the day. If you feel like raring to go at sunrise, by all means start your exercise then.

Of course, other considerations like work, commutes, and family must be factored in as well. If you need the added push during any activity such as a friend urging you on, then you will need to plan to their schedule too.

Whatever Works for You

All medical experts have one voice of agreement when it comes to what time of the day is best to exercise: If you are not a professional athlete it doesn’t matter what time you choose to exercise as long as it is consistent.

Whenever you can, get up and go for a stroll, hit the gym, or cycle around your neighbourhood; it’s all good at any time. Why early morning exercise has become a de facto time to exercise is for a very simple reason. It is a nice feeling to know you have gotten your daily quota of sweating and panting out of the way and can focus on the rest of the day’s work.

People who live in areas where it is not an option to run around in the madrugada (the dark hour just before cock’s crow) unaccompanied can take solace in the fact that doing it at lunch is just as beneficial.




*Results may vary from person to person