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When is the Best Time to Exercise


Is exercise best in the morning, afternoon or night?

Two of the most common New Year resolutions are “I want to exercise more” and “I want to lose weight”. Most of the time these two go hand in hand. Exercise, along with diet, is one the most effective ways to shed those extra pounds. But when is the best time of day to exercise to achieve the best weight loss results? This question is multifactorial and honestly it depends on each individual. There are both pros and cons to morning exercise and afternoon/night exercise. At the end of the day, consistency is vital. It is important to make exercise a daily routine no matter what time of day you exercise. 

Morning exercise: 

Pro: Some evidence suggests working out on an empty stomach (fasting for 6-8 hours, so the time you are sleeping) helps speed up weight loss. Since you do not have any food in your stomach, your body must tap into its fat reserves for energy instead of merely burning off that most recent meal. It also kick-starts your metabolism, so you burn more calories throughout the day.

Pro: Exercising can stimulate appetite, but those who exercise in the morning tend to be more health conscious of their dietary choices throughout the day. You also have a positive mindset throughout the day and feel less stressed.

Con: It takes longer to warm up those cold muscles. A proper warm-up is essential to minimize the risk of injury.

Con: It may be hard to schedule time in the morning to workout. This means getting up earlier and going to bed earlier. If you are not getting at least 6-8 hours sleep before your morning workout, it’s not worth it. 

Afternoon/Night Exercise:

Pro: Your body is more prepared to exercise. Muscles tend to be warmer and more flexible making you less susceptible to injuries.

Pro: Great outlet to burn off all that stress that accumulated throughout the day. This can help with quality of sleep. However, since exercise raises the body core temperature, it is not advised to exercise right before bedtime since this can disrupt your sleep cycle. Exercise at least 3-4 hours before bedtime.

Con: Exercising after eating a meal, especially a more substantial meal, limits the amount of blood and oxygen going to your muscles. This can affect performance and fat burn. Your body is preoccupied with digesting that large meal, rather than burning fat.

Con: Exercising can stimulate your appetite and cause binge eating at night. It also may be difficult for some to exercise after a long day of work or school.

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Important Disclaimer: The information provided on this site is intended for your general knowledge only; it is NOT meant to substitute professional medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. You should NOT use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem/disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider. Please schedule an appointment or call 203-693-1429 for individualized natural medicine.

Dr. Pamela Santapaola Dr. Pamela Santapaola Dr. Pamela Santapaola (AKA Dr. Pam) is a licensed naturopathic physician in the state of Connecticut and co-owner of Healing Duo Integrative Family Medical Practice. Dr. Pam has a passion for educating, whether it be through her writings or in her office in a one-to-one setting. She is an advocate of making small lifestyle changes that can make a big impact in the future. Her goal is to enlighten individuals about holistic medicine and empower them to make the changes necessary to live a healthier life. As her saying goes, "It’s time for you to start feeling like your best self.”

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