Sport in the morning or in the evening? When is the best time to do sports?
Exercise is an important part of a healthy and active lifestyle. While some people prefer to run in the morning, others enjoy a late afternoon workout. Some people even exercise shortly before bed. Is there an advantage if you exercise at a certain time of the day? Should you exercise in the morning or in the evening? This is a topic that is discussed a lot among athletes, training experts and researchers. While there is some evidence that late afternoon is the best time to exercise, doing a morning workout has many benefits. Read on to find out when training is more effective!
More effective in the morning or in the evening? That's what researchers say
Experts have found that the late afternoon or early evening is the best time for sports. According to research, full performance and optimal fat burning are achieved when the body temperature is at its highest. For most people, this is the time between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m., although some studies extend it to 7:00 p.m. The physical strength and endurance of the body reach their peak within these few hours. Athletes show better results in performance tests that also measure aerobic performance and response time. It's also good timing to avoid injuries. In the afternoon, you are more alert and focused. The muscles are already warmed up by the daily activities. In the morning, just before we wake up, our body temperature is at its lowest point in the day. This would indicate that morning is not the best time for exercise. However, a morning routine has several advantages.
Exercising in the morning has advantages
Running in the morning can help you stay motivated. Research has shown that morning athletes are more consistent than those who train in the afternoon or evening. This may be because you get up early to run or go to the gym. As a rule, you have more influence on the morning than on the evening. A lot can happen during the day and there are also many obstacles to afternoon training. You may stay in the office late, take the kids to exercise, have a little shopping, or whatever. You wake up in the morning and you're ready to go! In addition, the early morning in summer is also the coolest part of the day. So perfect for a morning run!
Plan the time for sports according to your lifestyle
Instead of looking for the best time to do sports, according to experts, the best thing to do is adjust your routine to your lifestyle. So you won't see sport as an annoying evil to do. Running helps morning people to prepare for the day. Others use afternoon training as a break from the day or to relax and let off steam after work.
Likewise, your schedule may be better suited for a morning run than for an evening workout. Between family obligations and work, it can also be the case that you only have a very narrow time window in the evening to insert a training session. Even if you don't feel like exercising during this time, it is still possible to change your biorhythm so that it fits your schedule.
Night owls can also be calm, because studies have shown that training before going to bed does not affect sleep quality. It may increase your heart rate during the first few hours of sleep, but the athletes in the study showed no difference in sleep between their training and non-training days. This is in contradiction to previous research, which claimed that morning exercise was better for sleeping. However, everyone agrees on one thing: that you need enough sleep. Athletes suffering from sleep disorders show a significant decrease in performance.
Timing for an event
If you are training for a specific event or sport, the optimal time should match the activity. For example, if you're training for a marathon, running in the morning can prepare your body for the event, since most marathons start in the morning. In contrast, many baseball and basketball games are played in the evening, while soccer games can be scheduled for the afternoon. No matter what sport you practice, training during these times will help your body perform better on the day of the game or race. If that's not possible, some research suggests that morning strength training can compensate for this time difference.
Adjust your own biorhythm to the desired time
Much of the recommended timing for exercise is related to the circadian rhythm of the body. It's a daily cycle that regulates many physiological functions, including alertness, blood pressure, body temperature, and metabolism. Everyone has a 24 hour rhythm and it is possible to adjust it or “teach” your body to perform better at certain times. It's almost like setting your alarm clock to a new time. The first week or two can be difficult, and you may struggle to wake up earlier. However, in about a month, your body will get used to the change, and many people will find that they wake up before the alarm clock rings.
The same can be done with the training routine. Once you've determined that a particular time of day suits your schedule, your body, a particular event, and all other factors, you can start training your body accordingly. For example, if you start jogging in the morning, your body will get used to running at that time. You will also get used to the same morning routine. After a while, jogging will become second nature, and the routine will help you stay motivated.
Exercise in the morning or in the evening is better for you?
Below we've put together the pros and cons of each time of the day for exercise so you can more easily decide when it would suit you best.
Exercise in the morning
- The majority of people who exercise regularly do this early in the morning. It is easier to shape the habit through morning training.
- A 2012 study found that photos of food after a 45-minute brisk morning walk and more activity during the rest of the day are less attractive.
- Another study from 2013 found that male cyclists have better endurance performance in the morning than in the evening.
- There are fewer distractions and schedule breaks in the morning.
- You can take some time to exercise by getting up a little earlier.
- Movement gives a feeling of more energy for the next few hours.
- In summer, the temperatures are cooler compared to the later times of the day.
- Air pollution levels are lowest in the morning.
- Your body adapts to your training time, so when you prepare for a marathon, train in the morning.
- Body temperature is one to three hours before waking up to the lowest point in the day. At this time, of course, you have less energy and poor blood circulation.
- Cold, stiff muscles can be more prone to injury. Make sure you warm up well before a high-intensity workout and stretch properly afterwards.
- If you don't like the morning workout, you won't be consistent.
- Because your body temperature is higher in the late afternoon, you will likely achieve the same or better calorie burning later in the day.
Sport at lunchtime and during breaks
If you have a sedentary job, it can do your body good to stop the day with exercise.
- You can make it a habit to go for a walk at lunchtime and break.
- You can find a training partner at work, at school, or in your neighborhood.
- The body temperature is higher than in the morning.
- Exercise can help regulate the amount of food you want to eat for lunch and also avoid afternoon snacks.
- A brisk walk improves blood flow to the brain, making you more concentrated in the afternoon.
- A walk or workout promotes stress relief in the office, school, or at home.
- Complete training is not possible due to time constraints. Any activity is good, but best if you can walk 30 to 60 minutes or more.
- During the day, you may not be able to consistently free yourself from work, school or family responsibilities.
- Research results from 2012 show that lung function is worse in the afternoon in people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). On a light walk, a healthy person cannot tell the difference. But with intensive training or people with lung problems, a difference of 15 to 20 percent can be felt.
Jogging and exercising in the afternoon
Research suggests that fitness in the afternoon (from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.) is also more effective for losing weight and building muscle.
- For most people, the body temperature peaks at 6 p.m.
- Research shows that lung function is best from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.
- The muscles are warm and flexible.
- In the afternoon, you have the least perceived effort of the day: if you don't feel stress, you can train harder or faster in the afternoon.
- Afternoon gymnastics can help regulate the amount of food you want to eat for dinner.
- After a day at work, at school or at home, exercising helps reduce stress.
- You may find that things keep popping up that are obstacles to exercising regularly.
- The gym can get crowded at this time. Certain devices such as the treadmill can be occupied for a long time.
Sport in the evening
- The peak of body temperature has been reached.
- The muscles are warm and flexible.
- The perceived effort is low. Maybe you can train more intensively.
- Those who exercise in the evening will be less hungry at dinner.
- Exercise helps reduce stress after work, at school, or at home.
- A full day of new crises and distractions can pose particular difficulties for effective training.
- You need to plan one to three hours after exercising to fall asleep. If you discover sleep problems, you need to plan your workout earlier.
- In the cold season, when it gets dark earlier, you should definitely wear reflective clothing when jogging outside.
Basically, the best time to do sports is the one that suits you best. Your optimal training time depends on the individual rhythm of life. The experts agree – it is not so much the time of day that counts as the time that you can regularly schedule for your training. No matter what time of day you train, you will still be able to take advantage of regular training.
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