Tips from the Telegraph –
Our bodies work in 24 hour cycles, referred to as circadian rhythms and we regulate according to these cycles. All things being equal, cortisol (the primary stress hormone) reaches its peak mid-morning, decreasing throughout the day. Cortisol being an important factor for exercising, mid-morning would seem to be the best time to don your workout gear and go for it.
But what about those of us who exercise first thing? Well, that has benefits too – especially if your goal is to lose some body fat. That’s because glycogen, the sugar stored in muscles to be used as fuel, is lowest in the morning, so we can tap into other sources, such as fat, to fuel our workouts. Good news for the early birds.
However, research has also shown that people tend to feel stronger, more alert and have more energy in the afternoon and early evening. This being the case, most of us would be able to push ourselves a bit harder at this time of day, meaning that we would likely get more out of our workouts; which means better results.
So it seems there are benefits to exercising at any time of day. It’s worth noting however that there are cons to all of the above too. Stressed and tired folk would probably do better not to further stress a depleted system first thing for example. And those who exercise in the evening may find that it affects sleep, something that we should try to avoid at all costs. So what is the answer?
The bottom line is that for most of us it’s not relevant. Assuming that we are not professional athletes and that we do not have the luxury of choosing at what time of day we should exercise, does it really matter anyway? We just need to get it done when we can! And for those of us who do have the luxury of being flexible, we should go with the time that feels best for us in terms of energy levels.
Remember, the best exercise programme is one that you enjoy and the one that you can do consistently. Don’t stress about the smaller details, just choose the time you have left after you’ve factored in your other commitments. Follow the right programme and you’ll get results regardless of the time of day that you exercise.