Every fitness enthusiast or newbie to the scene of workouts is faced with the dilemma of timing their exercise session. Indeed, when you are aspiring to make the most of your fitness activities, finding the optimal time for working out is crucial. So far, research has shown that there are equal benefits to working out in the daytime and evening both. While there is still no definitive answer as to which time of the day you should hit the gym or yoga studio, there are some clear pros and cons to each.
MORNING WORKOUTS: PROS
Your energy levels stay high
A morning workout is like breakfast, in the sense that it triggers your metabolism and keeps you recharged for the remainder of the day. In other words, the sheer act of exercising in the morning helps you burn a lot more calories all throughout the day. Basically, working out elevates the levels of endorphins and mood-enhancing substances that can uplift your spirits and reduce your stress levels.
You get to sleep better at night
A recent study has found out that morning workouts are especially recommended for all those who want restful sleep at night. According to this study, individuals who exercised at 7 a.m had a lower blood pressure during the day and a 25% reduction in blood pressure in the evening than those who exercised in the evening. Also, they slept longer and felt sharper and less fatigued than others.
Morning workouts make you disciplined
Working out early in the morning helps you maintain a daily habit of staying physically active, and procrastinating less, simply because evenings can be largely unpredictable and thus lessen your chances to carve out extra time to hit the gym. In the morning, the probability of scheduling conflicts or other commitments is low.
MORNING WORKOUTS: CONS
You have to wake up early
If you hate waking up early, then the idea of a morning abs workout must be thoroughly mortifying to you. Indeed, getting out of your warm, soft bed everyday before sunrise can be a real challenge, especially if you have to do so on a recurring basis. And the worst part is that if you are practically forcing yourself to get up and exercise, then you won't be putting too much effort into exercise as you would in the evenings. Additionally, if you are not careful, you can even disrupt your sleep schedule, and get deprived of sleep in the process.
More Time & Energy for Warm-Ups
With morning workouts, you have to invest more time and energy warming up as your muscles and joints are intrinsically stiff at that time. And if you are planning on engaging on a more challenging and vigorous workout, then you may have to spend extra time and energy in the warm-up sessions.
EVENING WORKOUTS: PROS
Your Mornings are Stress-Free
How many times have you cursed your belly fat every time the alarm bell rang off at 5 a.m? Well, morning workouts are certainly not for clino-maniacs (people obsessed with sleeping). So for all those who wish to catch some extra sleep in the morning, and do away with the worries of rushing to work on time, evening workout is a suitable solution. Being easy to schedule and less stressful, it is an easy way out for people who abhor getting up early to subject their body to demanding exercises.
Your Body Responds Better
Both strength and endurance are considerably higher in the evening, and thus the likelihood of injuries is lower. At this time of the day, the muscles are maximally flexible as your body is relatively more warm than it is in the daytime. This is why, your reaction time to fitness exercises is likely to be faster. Also, since protein synthesis peaks during the evening, intense workouts including hard cardio or weight training are more effective on the body.
You can exercise for longer
Without the stress of leaving the warm bed so soon and the pressure to reach office in time, you can invest a lot more time, effort and energy exercising. This invariably means extra warm-up. post-workout stretching, as well as longer rest periods between consequent sets.
A great way to unwind
An evening session at the gym is a great way to sweat out all those frustrations and stress at the gym. Not only that, the calories provided by the small meals eaten throughout the day form sufficient fuel for a fulfilling workout session. An evening workout also serves the perfect transition period between leaving office and coming home, and can de-stress you considerably, thereby helping you in your interpersonal relations and social situations alike. As an added perk, it also recharges you for the rest for the day, in case you are planning on burning the night oil .
EVENING WORKOUTS: CONS
Limitation on workouts
There are particular safety concerns to working out in the evenings. For example, outdoor training in the evening is not recommended during winter time. This is simply because the sun sets earlier in the winter months, and weather remains largely unpredictable and difficult to exercise in. This means you may have to limit your workout activities to indoors.
You may face gym crowds
Gyms are usually jam packed in the evenings with fitness buffs who are too lazy to get up in the mornings. So don't be surprised if the machine you want to work out with is difficult to access. Fitness facilities are relatively more crowded at the end of work days, and this itself, can make working out seem like a great hassle.
You may experience insomnia
There is a high chance of experiencing sleep deprivation if you exercise close to bedtime. This is simply because exercise recharges your energy levels, and enhances your state of arousal by increasing the blood levels of your stress hormones. This invariably makes it challenging to fall asleep, especially if you are already taking medication for depression. The degree to which the quality of sleep is affected depends upon the intensity of the workout. However, the good news is that you can still try out stretching and yoga to unwind and unplug at the end of a chaotic day.
Well, we come back to the same old question: Morning workout or evening workout? The answer is definitely not easy as either time of exercise is suitable for different individuals, depending on their habits, daily schedule and fitness needs. However, with an evening workout session, you find it easier to meet your fitness goals and exercise important muscles of your body. Then again, it's important to note that any time is the best time for working out, and you should zero in on a routine that appeals to you best. It is also perfectly healthy for vary your exercise timings on a seasonal or day-to-day basis.