The Science Behind Timing: Morning vs. Night Workouts

Published on: 24/11/2023

Are you into working out? Have you ever wondered whether a morning or late-night workout would work better for you? Read more about it here!

In the pursuit of a healthier lifestyle, one often faces the dilemma of choosing the optimal time to engage in physical exercise. The debate over whether morning or night workouts are more effective has been ongoing for years. Let's delve into the science behind these choices to help you make an informed decision tailored to your individual needs and preferences.

Morning Workouts: Boosting Metabolism and Enhancing Mood

Early Risers Rejoice:

For those who find solace in the stillness of the morning, there is scientific merit to support the benefits of exercising at this time. Morning workouts have been linked to an increased metabolism throughout the day. A study published in the Journal of Physiology suggests that exercising in the morning can lead to greater calorie burn, potentially aiding in weight management.

Cortisol and Alertness:

Cortisol, commonly known as the stress hormone, follows a diurnal pattern, peaking in the early morning. Contrary to popular belief, a moderate increase in cortisol during exercise can be advantageous, as it contributes to heightened alertness and improved focus. Morning workouts take advantage of this natural cortisol surge, providing a potential cognitive boost for the rest of the day.

Better sleep quality:

Engaging in morning exercise has also been associated with improved sleep quality. A study in the journal Sleep found that participants who exercised in the morning experienced deeper and longer sleep cycles compared to those who worked out later in the day. This suggests that morning workouts may contribute to a more restorative night's sleep.

Night Workouts: Building Strength and Improving Performance

Strength gains and body temperature:

Contrary to the belief that evening exercise disrupts sleep, research published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research indicates that working out in the evening may be beneficial for building strength. Body temperature, which naturally increases throughout the day, peaks in the late afternoon and evening. This elevation in body temperature has been linked to improved muscle function and strength, making nighttime workouts conducive to resistance training and performance enhancement.

Joint Flexibility and Injury Prevention:

The body's core temperature and muscle function are generally at their peak in the evening. This can contribute to increased joint flexibility, potentially reducing the risk of injury during workouts. A study in the European Journal of Applied Physiology suggests that individuals may experience better overall performance and reduced perceived effort when exercising in the evening, leading to more effective and injury-resistant training sessions.

Stress Relief and Social Aspects:

For many, evening workouts serve as a stress-relieving activity, allowing individuals to unwind after a long day. Physical activity triggers the release of endorphins, the body's natural mood enhancers, which can be particularly beneficial for stress management. Additionally, evening workouts may provide an opportunity for social interaction, as many fitness classes and group activities are scheduled during this time.

Ultimately, whether you choose morning or night workouts depends on your individual preferences, schedule, and fitness goals. Both timing options offer unique advantages, and the key is consistency. The most important factor is finding a time that aligns with your lifestyle, ensuring that you can maintain a regular exercise routine. Listen to your body, observe how it responds at different times, and make adjustments accordingly. Remember, the best time to work out is the time that works best for you.