Your life is busy. We get it. Your daily calendar is jam-packed, and waking up an hour early to exercise just isn’t going to happen. They say early birds get the worm, making mornings the best time to work out. But we took another look at the research. Turns out there isn’t a single answer to the when is the best time to work out question. The good news for night owls is that late afternoon, evening, or pre-bedtime workouts have their own advantages.
The best time of day to exercise
Science tells us our circadian rhythm, or body clock, determines whether you’re a night owl or an early bird. Early birds who work out first thing in the morning start their day with a rush of endorphins and burn more fat during their pre-breakfast workout.
But what if you’re not ready for a 30-minute HIIT session to start your day? Some of us prefer using our lunch hour for a yoga class. Some of us need to wait for the evening to find 20 minutes to call our own. For these night owls, science is on your side.
Evening workout perks
After a busy or stress-filled day, working out at night can help you sleep better. Scientists reviewed the data to determine the effect of evening physical exercise on sleep. Contrary to popular belief, vigorous exercise ending at least one hour before bedtime helped the subjects sleep.
If you’re a night owl, choosing to work out later in the day offers other advantages. Studies found that athletes who worked out according to their circadian pattern could work out harder. Another study confirmed the performance of athletes varies by as much as 26% throughout the day. Athletes who were night owls performed better later in the day than they did in the morning.
What’s true for athletes is true for you. Your late-day sweat session gives you the benefit of better physical performance. Improved muscle strength, flexibility, and endurance are some of the perks of working out at night.
Your core temperature gets warmer as the day goes on, blood sugar levels are stable, and you burn calories more quickly in the early evening. That means you get into your groove faster to power through your session.
End your day on a high note
The best time to work out is really simple: the best time is the one that’s best for you. If you’re a night owl, we 👏 your commitment to a healthier (night)life.