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Is there a good time to work out?

This week, we answer exactly that.

We all know that regular exercise is good for you; however, it can be difficult to fit exercise in your busy daily routine. If you’re trying to form a consistent habit, it may be tempting to think that morning exercise would be better because it would get it out of the way sooner. However, there is no evidence to support that. Instead, it may just come down to your preferred time to train.

If you’re thinking of breaking up your work-day in order to get some exercise in, that’s not going to work. Straight up.  Researchers compared attendance to lunchtime group classes with after-work classes. Those who were assigned to the training during work only attended 26% of sessions, compared to the after-work group who attended 70% of the sessions.

Exercise before breakfast

Physiologically, exercising on an empty stomach is different from exercising after a meal. After an overnight fast, your body uses the fat stored in your body as it is the primary source of fuel. This means if you work out before breakfast, you’re essentially burning more fat.

Burning more fat during exercise may have a metabolic advantage, but it does not mean you’ll lose more weight over time. Researchers compared exercising in a fasted state when compared to after food, for four weeks. The findings show that while both groups of people lost significant fat mass, there was no between the amount of loss between the two groups.

Exercise and Sleep

Exercise increases how awake we feel and raises our core temperature, which, in theory, is opposite to the concept of sleep. However, sleep is essential to maintaining good health. Did you know, sleep is essential to weight loss and management?

Despite previous recommendations that discouraged exercising within four hours of bedtime, there’s a growing body of evidence to support evening exercise. Swiss researchers found vigorous exercise performed one-and-a-half hours before bedtime was associated with falling asleep faster, fewer awakenings after sleeping, and better mood states.

In contrast, to get up early for morning training, some researchers found swimmers are sacrificing sleep, compared to rest days. Missing out on sleep is not a healthy choice to make.

Research suggests that a newer mattress helps sleep better, which in turn boosts energy during weight training. Individuals who got seven to eight hours on a new mattress are more likely to participate in physical activity when compared to those who don’t sleep enough or have worse quality of sleep. While this doesn’t mean that you need a new mattress every year, it does mean that you should pay more attention to the kind of mattress you sleep on and the quality of sleep you’re getting, as this greatly affects your efficiency and quality of exercise.

So is there really a better time of day to exercise?

Sticking to a workout plan isn’t easy when we have competing demands like work and family commitments, which can vary week to week. There are advantages to both morning and evening exercise. To get the most health benefits from exercise, the best time of day to exercise is when you will actually do it.

What we do know is you are more likely to do it regularly if you select a time and stick to it, regardless of whether it’s morning or evening. Exercising consistently at the same time each day is one of the best ways of developing a long-lasting exercise habit.

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