The best time of day to exercise (to get the best results)

  • The best time to exercise depends on the desired physical results: women achieve better blood pressure and abdominal fat results by exercising in the morning, while men benefit from the evening for blood pressure and heart tone.
  • The individual chronotype, i.e., preferred time to sleep, can influence the ideal time to exercise.
  • The multimodal approach to training can be particularly effective in achieving better results. Variety in training is always preferable to homologation.


Some people train early in the morning, some at lunch, some in the evening. Some people have to stick to work schedules and squeeze workouts in between those and their other commitments. There are also those who do not work and train when they like. Many make a virtue out of necessity, that is, they allocate the remaining time from everything else to training. Everyone or almost everyone, however, has a favorite time to train.
Based on these considerations, Paul J. Arciero, a professor in the department of physiological health and human sciences at Skidmore, conducted research to figure out the best hours to exercise. But mind you: not according to personal taste but according to the best physical results.

“We found that women and men respond differently to different types of exercise depending on the time of day, which surprised us,” Arciero related.
Fitness goals also change from women to men. For example, women who are more interested in lowering blood pressure and decreasing abdominal fat would do better to exercise in the morning while those who want to increase muscle mass or mood should prefer to exercise in the evening.

Opposite results for men who should exercise in the evening to lower blood pressure and have better heart tone. Like women on the other hand, if they want to shed some of the fat they would do better to concentrate their workouts in the morning.
“If you’re a woman, you might want to do your cardio workouts in the morning and your strength training in the evening,” Arciero says again.


An indication of the best time to train can also come from the chronotype that everyone has. Seemingly difficult word that simply indicates when you place sleep.
As Jennifer J. Heisz, associate professor of kinesiology at McMaster University and author of “Move the Body, Heal the Mind,” notes, there are two dominant chronotypes: owls and larks. What differentiates them? The times during which they sleep: like the birds from which they take their names, owls fall asleep late and wake up just as late, unlike larks.

In this league those who are at a disadvantage are the owls. They are not because of their nature but because their recovery/sleep rhythms are not very compatible with the schedules of the rest of the world, and therefore their workouts are often placed at times when their effectiveness is less impactful. Also because, if they were to train at the best times (always depending on the results, of course) they would end up compromising the quality and duration of their sleep, and you know how important it is not to neglect the energy recovery phase.

Your best time

To place your workout at the best time of day, Heisz suggests using it precisely to change your chronotype, because yes, it can be done.

For example, if you are an owl, you can train in the morning so that you anticipate your bedtime little by little. If, on the other hand, you are a lark, evening training can help you move your bedtime back a few hours.

However, if you fear it will disturb your ability to fall asleep too much, avoid strenuous workouts that will put a lot of endorphins in your system and favor lighter ones, such as yoga. Or place the efforts hours away from bedtime, such as before dinner.


The most effective solution, however, seems to be the one always proposed by Arciero and is based on an ever-valid rule: variety is always better than standardization.
To accomplish this, Arciero proposed his own method based on different types of work, called RISE-resistance training, sprint interval training, stretching, and endurance. As you can see, it involves all kinds of training, from endurance to interval to stretching. His research results show that when done at least once a week, individual types of training are the most effective and comprehensive.

But that variation is always a good idea we’ve been telling you for a long time, haven’t we?

(via Fortune Well)


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