It’s 6:00 AM. The sun is barely peeking above the horizon, and you’re sound asleep in the comfort of your blankets. Everything is perfect, until all of a sudden your alarm comes blaring on, waking you up. But of course, the handy snooze button is right within your reach, and you grudgingly press it to get five more minutes of blissful sleep.
Sound familiar? Most of us aren’t morning people, and would much rather sleep in an extra thirty minutes or so to be well rested. If you are one of these people, you might have also heard that you are missing out on the best time to exercise. It is widely believed that the mornings are the best times to workout, both in terms of effectiveness and healthiness. But while there is some reasoning to back this up, there are also good reasons to work out in the afternoon or evening.
Working out in the morning provides a different set of benefits than working out during other parts of the day. So, the best time for you to work out only depends on your life - how busy your day is, when your body responds best to exercise, and when you are able to focus on your workout.
If the mornings are not your time, hitting the gym in the evening has some proven benefits as well. A study shows that muscles are actually 20 percent more flexible in the evening compared to the morning, which could lead to a better workout. The extra flexibility could be a result of your body being worked through the day. This would be great for doing any sort of exercise, from running to lifting weights. Another benefit of exercising in the evening is that it may provide a sort of transition between your work day and your home. You could go home feeling focused and reenergized for your family and friends. You also won’t have to worry about the morning time crunch. Exercising after your work day means you can spend as much time as you want hitting the exercises you prefer and not worrying about future commitments.
Although most of us are not avid morning people, there are many who love to get the day started early. Working out in the morning has been found to be beneficial for blood pressure. Studies show that working out in the morning keeps your blood pressure 10 percent lower throughout the day than it otherwise would be.
This decrease is also shown to induce a deeper sleep at night. Exercise in the morning would also keep your day free to do other activities, without worrying about having to make time to hit the gym. It is also likely that you will be better able to consistently keep a routine in the morning. There are less distractions to keep you from skipping your workout and less activity in general during the morning. Also, if you go to the gym, the mornings are usually less crowded than they are in the evening, when most people hit the gym. You could avoid a crowd and spend time doing the exercises you want.
Whenever you decide you want to exercise, you will be able to see results and benefits afterwards. When you work out should be based on your personality, lifestyle, and circadian rhythm. Some people are able to wake up early in the morning, whereas others find it difficult to find the right side of bed to get off of. At the end of the day, your body will be able to stay healthy and grow as a result of your workouts. As long as you maintain a healthy and active lifestyle, the time of day that you work out will not make a significant difference in the long run.
Siddharth is an intern at Azumio. He is originally from San Jose, CA and is currently a student at UC Berkeley. In his free time, he loves to read, play basketball, swim, or watch TV. He also enjoys hiking outdoors and cooking if he has the time.
Main Photo Credit: www.billionphotos.com/shutterstock.com; Second Photo Credit: VectorLifestylepic/shutterstock.com; Third Photo Credit: Nejron Photo/shutterstock.com