When Is the Best Time to Go to the Gym?

When Is the Best Time to Go to the Gym?

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Hit the gym when it best suits you.

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If you're a morning person, the best time to go to the gym might be at dawn's early light. If you're a night owl, you might want to hit the gym at midnight when you have the place to yourself. You can make a compelling argument for exercising at daybreak, in the afternoon and late in the evening, although there are drawbacks to each approach. Although the time you exercise can be important, it pales in significance to the value of the exercise itself.

Morning Moves

Working out in the morning can jump-start your day with a burst of endorphins and help ensure that you'll stick to your exercise routine. “Forbes” notes that people who work out early are more likely to stick to their fitness schedule. The magazine quotes Cedric Bryant from the American Council on Exercise, who says, "Many of us are well-intentioned, but then the realities of life come into play and squeeze out exercise.” Working out before you eat in the morning also helps burn more fat calories. However, exercising on an empty stomach can be fatiguing or make you dizzy or lightheaded.

Energized Afternoons

As ACE explains, your body temperature is generally highest late in the afternoon, resulting in warmer muscles and joints. You loosen up more quickly, your reaction time is better and you are stronger as well, leading to peak performance. Afternoon workouts tend to be especially good for bodybuilders, according to "Forbes," because people have stored up more muscle-building glycogen by the afternoon. Exercising in the afternoon relieves some of the stress and pressure of a typical workday, as well.

Nighttime is the Right Time?

Exercising at night is a controversial subject. Exercise is essential, but so is a good night's sleep. Conventional wisdom claims that you shouldn't exercise within a few hours of bedtime, because exercise raises your body temperature and interferes with slumber. But NBC News notes that experts hold divergent views. Shawn Youngstedt, an assistant professor of exercise science at South Carolina University, says many people can vigorously exercise at night without losing sleep over it. On the other hand, the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center found that women who work out in the morning sleep better than those who work out at night.

Time is Relative

As the Columbia University health site, Go Ask Alice, states, “The best time to exercise is the time that's right for you.” So find the time that works best for your body and schedule and get to it. Check with your health care provider if you are just starting an exercise routine or have preexisting conditions that might restrict the amount or type of workouts your body can handle.