One of the most asked questions regarding exercise is whether it’s better to go to the gym in the morning or at night.
It could be that you’re naturally an early riser and want to start the day as you mean to go on, you may want to visit the gym at a quieter time or it just works best for you to finish a day’s work and decompress by investing some time in yourself for a workout.
Not sure what’s best for you? We’ve listed some of the positives for each below which may help you make up your mind.
Benefits of morning workouts
Mornings lend themselves to forming a routine – getting into the habit of exercising first thing can be a great way to establish a regular workout routine. By waking up and getting it done, you’re giving yourself less of an opportunity to talk yourself out of it and let the rigours of daily life get in the way of your gym time.
It could make you become a morning person – if you find yourself as one of those people that struggles to roll out of bed in the morning, a morning exercise habit could shift your circadian rhythm (your daily body clock) to be more alert in the mornings. The first few days and weeks will likely be tough, but you could soon be springing up out of bed and see a change in your early morning energy levels.
It could boost your mood for the day ahead – you may raise an eyebrow when you hear people who are at the gym at the crack of dawn saying it ‘sets them up for the day ahead’ but science suggests it could be true! Exercise releases endorphins (or ‘happy chemicals’) which can boost your mood even after your workout is finished. Couple that with a sense of accomplishment and you could look forward to the day ahead in a completely different light.
Benefits of evening workouts
Your body could be more physically ready – there’s research to suggest that you may function better physically as the day goes on. Your strength, endurance and flexibility could all be improved, meaning you can potentially push harder and maximise your workout.
It can relieve the day’s stress – the feel-good endorphins we mentioned earlier can also be much needed later on in the day. We can all feel the effects of a tough day sometimes and a good workout can be the perfect remedy to put you in good spirits before you go to sleep.
It could help you sleep better – there are conflicting views when it comes to this topic but research suggests that exercise can improve your sleep, particularly light and moderate exercise. Working out can reduce the presence of the stress hormone, cortisol, which in turn can reduce sleep onset, the time that it takes for you to fall asleep.
As you can see, while there’s some science around our circadian rhythm which suggests that different times of day come with different benefits, it can often be your own lifestyle that helps you find out when the gym is best for you.
The most important thing to note is that a workout is a workout, regardless of the time of day that you go to the gym. Any time you spend in the gym can be beneficial for your physical and mental wellbeing and will improve your endurance, strength and mobility.
Take the time to decide which time of day works for you best and helps you form a regular exercise routine. Need support with an exercise programme or don’t know where to start? You can claim a free one-day pass at an Anytime Fitness gym and speak to one of our friendly and expert team about your health goals.