What are the best times to exercise?

Old man working out at gym
Mature man pushing weights in a health club.

Exercising at different times of day may affect exactly what you get out. There is no real set time that is optimum for exercising, as people enjoy their workout at different times.

As well as simply trying to fit your workout into your busy schedule, you should also consider how you feel after exercising, as this can signal when the best time for you to head to the gym is.

While choosing a time that you can stick with in order to create a routine is important, you should listen to your gut and exercise when it feels right to you.

Early morning

The morning is the ideal time to work out if you struggle with a consistent routine. Giving yourself some extra time after you wake up to hit the gym, or even jogging to work rather than catching the bus or driving, can help to ensure you get your exercise in.

Morning workouts allow you to achieve your goals before other time pressures – such as work or childcare – become a factor. The chances are that if you’re used to a morning exercise routine, putting it off will mean that you don’t fit your workout in.

You may also find that morning workouts set you up for the rest of the day, as they get your adrenaline pumping. This can wake you up and help you feel energised and ready to go.

If you do workout in the morning, you should allow more time to warm up as your muscles are more likely to be a bit sluggish after sleep.

Late afternoon/evening

Those who struggle to get up and go in the morning may find that working out in the late afternoon or evening is the best option. This means you aren’t fighting with your body’s natural processes to try and get it to wake up so you can workout.

Waiting until later to exercise means that you will have stretched your muscles out a bit during the day, you’ve eaten and drunk so feel more alert and generally just feel better prepared mentally.

It is important to remember, though, that shouldn’t hit the gym too soon after a meal, so ensure you leave time after your lunch and before your dinner before exercising.

In the middle

Some people find that a lunchtime workout is their best option. This means you can fit your exercise into your work day without impacting it too much. It can also give you an extra burst of energy to get through the rest of your day.

If you aren’t a morning person and are generally too busy in the evenings to work out, lunchtime could be your best bet. Just be sure to leave your food until afterwards.

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