A consistent routine is critical for living a healthy lifestyle. Consistency is what will ensure that you get the proper amount of sleep, are eating the right foods each day, remaining well hydrated and getting enough exercise.
However, while routines like taking electrolyte hydration pills upon waking to replenish what you lost in your sleep is important for warding off dehydration, many people operate on different schedules, which means they might wake up at different times of the day.
This also means they are likely to work out at different times. However, it is important to consider the pros and cons of exercising at different times of day, particularly in the morning and at night.
If you have ever wondered about the benefits and drawbacks of working out at these times, look no further. Here is what you need to know.
- 1 Morning Workouts: The Pros
- 2 Morning Workouts: The Cons
- 3 Nighttime Workouts: The Pros
- 4 Nighttime Workouts: The Cons
- 5 Choosing the Best Workout Time for You
Morning Workouts: The Pros
For those who work out in the morning, it is typically one of the first things they do, if not the first. As a result, this comes with a handful of pros and cons, such as:
Getting a Jump on the Day
Working out first thing in the morning allows you to begin your day in a productive manner, checking something off of your to-do list almost immediately. This means that the rest of your day can be a bit more flexible, as you are up earlier than most others and have already gotten your workout done for the day.
Setting a Positive Tone for the Day
In addition to the good feeling being productive in the morning will bring, exercise itself has a variety of mental health benefits as a result of the hormones released during the process.
Because of this dynamic, you are likely going to begin your day happier and more optimistic than if you had saved your workout for later. This can have a tremendous impact on the day’s overall trajectory, positively influencing it for the best.
A Healthy Mindset
Mood-boosting chemicals aside, working out first thing in the morning will put you in a healthy frame of mind, which is likely to influence the eating and behavioral habits you exhibit throughout the day.
Basically, working out in the morning will probably help you make better personal decisions.
Greater Metabolic Efficiency
Hitting the gym early in the morning probably means you ate very little, if anything, beforehand. This arrangement will help to jumpstart your metabolism for the day, likely helping you to burn more calories over the next 24 hours.
Morning Workouts: The Cons
However, morning workouts aren’t all smiles and positivity, as there are some drawbacks to consider as well.
If you are not a morning person or work in the evenings, waking up in the morning to go work out could be a challenging habit to build. Furthermore, it could mean that you are not getting enough sleep, thus doing your body a disservice.
A Slower Start
When you work out later in the day, your body has had time to wake up, move around and get into the swing of things. However, hitting the gym in the morning likely means you will get off to a slower start, as your muscles will be cold and stiff from sleep. Ultimately, this means you’ll require a longer warm-up period and need to spend a bit more time on your morning exercise routine.
Possible Digestive Discomfort
While some folks are fine fasting before their workout, it’s not for everyone. Therefore, many will need to eat before exercising. This means that morning workouts could end up causing some digestive discomfort if too much was eaten that morning or there was not enough time between the meal and the gym.
Similar problems can arise with trying to hydrate before a morning workout, especially since you need to replenish what was lost while sleeping. However, mixing in a sugar-free electrolyte powder can help combat this issue.
Nighttime Workouts: The Pros
Just as morning workouts have advantages and disadvantages, so do evening or nighttime routines.
Some of the positives include:
Higher Energy Levels
Many folks find that their energy levels can be higher for evening or nighttime workouts. This is natural as they have a full day of food behind them, meaning they have the fuel they need to exert themselves.
An Outlet for Stress
After a long day at work, one of the best (and healthiest) ways to blow off some steam and relieve stress is by getting in a hard workout.
In many ways, this goes back to the mood-boosting endorphins mentioned earlier.
A More Focused Session
Working out in the evening or at night likely means you have gotten everything you need to do for the day done. Anything that is still on your plate can wait until tomorrow. Thus, you are likely to be less distracted and able to give your workout your undivided attention.
Nighttime Workouts: The Cons
While there are certainly upsides to an evening workout, the drawbacks include:
Inability to Sleep
Since exercise gets your blood pumping and mood-boosting hormones flowing, you might find it difficult to go to sleep shortly after leaving the gym.
The best way to mitigate this is to avoid high-intensity workouts one to two hours before bedtime.
With working out being the last thing you have to do in a day, it can be really easy to put off until tomorrow. The more you do this, the more likely it is that you will fall out of your routine completely.
Choosing the Best Workout Time for You
Depending on your schedule and lifestyle, you might be forced to work out at one time or another. However, the key to success is understanding the pros and cons of each time so that you can maximize the advantages and mitigate the pitfalls.
That said, the real best time to work out is anytime that you can fit it into your day, as exercising at any time is better than not exercising at all.