Some people are early to bed and early to rise. Others seem to only start truly waking up at 5:00 PM. For the night owls, when is the best time to work out? Is it unhealthy to hit your elliptical or treadmill in the evening? Will it affect your sleep?
According to a 2013 Sleep in America Poll (as reported by USA Today) people who work out at any time of day report sleeping better and feeling more rested than those who don't exercise. There was no difference in the quality of sleep between participants who exercised early or in the final four hours of the day.
Those who question late evening exercise often cite body temperature. In a Livestrong article, The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center stated that body temperature peaks during 2 o'clock and 6 o'clock p.m., which encourages late afternoon/early evening workouts, since muscles are more flexible and perceived exertion, resting heart rate and blood pressure are lower.
While exercising can have the same health benefits, the time of day can affect how you feel as you exercise. Some swear by hopping on their exercise machine in the morning because A.M. fitness routines allow the body to warm up for other daily activities and can serve to jump-start the day. Exercising in the morning can also promote other healthy habits like mindful eating.
Nighttime exercise can serve its own purpose, allowing for a psychological decompression from the stress of the day. One major benefit of evening workouts is how convenient they can be. The gym may be less crowded, leaving more ellipticals, exercise bikes or treadmills open for the taking, or you may just have more free time at the end of the day.
Exercise is important, no matter the hour. Set your daily exercise routine at whatever hour works for you and stick with it. Exercise can protect your body from disease, improve your mood, boost your energy and help you live longer.