What Time Do You Exercise?

Working out, my friends, is never on my top ten list of things of do, but it’s always a priority anyway. It’s part of being truly healthy, can help prevent disease and keeps weight in check. I simply feel better when I work out regularly than when I don’t, which is a pretty powerful motivator, too!

First, let me start out by saying you should always aim to exercise, and if it doesn’t fit into your schedule in the morning, then whenever you get to it is just fine. What I want to share with you is that if you can move it to the morning, you may just be able to maximize your results, so it’s definitely worth keeping in mind.

A recent study published in the Obesity journal took a look at the link between the ability to maintain weight loss and the timing of exercise (https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/oby.22535). This study included 375 people from the National Weight Control Registry who did moderate to vigorous exercise at least two days each week and had maintained their weight loss. At least half of the participants’ workout sessions happened during the same time window each day–morning, afternoon or evening.

Overall, close to 70 percent of the people maintained consistency in their workout schedules, and those who were consistent worked out more, at 4.8 days each week versus 4.4 days each week for the people who were on less consistent schedules. Those on more consistent schedules also worked out for a longer period of time–350 minutes per week overall versus 285 minutes per week for the people on less consistent schedules.

When it came to those who were on a consistent workout schedule, nearly 48 percent worked out first thing in the morning, which suggests the timing of exercise can be a factor when it comes to weight management. However, it’s important to note that the researchers did not see any major differences in performance levels across the various time windows, meaning that consistency is likely the most crucial issue.

There are some less scientific and more common sense arguments for working out in the morning. Exercising early means you’re more likely to do it, whereas evening or afternoon plans can easily get off track because of social invitations, unexpected events or simple tiredness and lack of motivation at the end of the day. If you find yourself skipping exercise more than you would like, try moving it to your morning routine.