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What are the best times for exercise? Research|Case Study|Pros & Cons

There is no magic bullet for fast body weight reduction, but new research reveals that timing your exercise correctly can help you lose weight and keep it off in the long run. Should you exercise in the morning, late morning, afternoon, or evening? One thing is certain: regular exercise and consistency will aid weight loss as well as improving overall health.

Finding time to exercise can be difficult, but the most important thing is to fit in as much as you can whenever possible. However, if you want to get the most out of your workouts, you should consider exercising first thing in the morning.

Here’s what science has to say about the optimal time of day to exercise — and what you might expect if you choose to exercise later in the day.

Morning exercise

Working out first thing in the morning — especially on an empty stomach — is the most effective technique to burn fat and is therefore perfect for weight loss. According to Anthony Hackney, a professor in the department of exercise and sport science at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, this is because the body’s hormonal composition in the morning is set up to promote that goal.

“You have a hormonal profile in the early morning hours that would incline you to improved fat metabolism,” Hackney says. According to Hackney, people naturally have higher levels of cortisol and growth hormone in the morning, both of which are linked to metabolism, so you’ll “draw more energy from your fat reserves.” This could potentially aid weight loss.

Morning exercisers may also have a lower hunger throughout the day, which could assist them avoid gaining weight, according to research.

Working out first thing in the morning can rapidly become second nature, even if you dislike early alarms. According to a study published in the Journal of Physiology in 2019, exercising around 7 a.m. may cause your body clock to shift earlier, causing you to feel more alert in the morning and fatigued earlier in the evening, perhaps preparing you to wake up and do the same thing the next day. According to several studies, it is much simpler to maintain healthy behaviors when they are accomplished first thing in the morning.

Because exercise is good for reducing stress, a morning sweat may also lead to better mental health and productivity throughout the day.

But don’t force it if you’re not a morning person. “You might be active, but you might not be burning a lot of calories,” Hackney explained.

So some certain pros and cons for morning exercise are following


  • Get our metabolisms going, which will help us burn more calories throughout the day.
  • Increase fat burning because our bodies’ glycogen stores are exhausted, forcing them to shift to fat.
  • Produce endorphins, which energize us and help us start the day off right.
  • Act like a cup of coffee and wake us up.
  • Reduce distractions to help us workout more consistently.
  • By forcing ourselves to get up a little earlier, we can make time for exercise. improve our energy levels for the remainder of the day.
  • Allow us to exercise without being harmed by the summer heat.
  • Improve our mental sharpness for hours thereafter.
  • Exercise outside to reduce our exposure to pollutants.
  • Make it easier to go on gym machines without having to wait and while time limits aren’t in effect.


Morning exercise has a lot of benefits, but it also has some drawbacks.

The following are some of the benefits of early exercise:

  • Forcing us to work out when our energy levels aren’t optimal
  • Injuries are caused by pushing us to exercise with cold, rigid muscles.
  • Muscle (as well as fat) can be used as a fuel source if you exercise before eating.
  • Make it harder for us to develop an exercise habit (if we are not “morning people”)
  • Some of us are at a higher risk of having a heart attack as a result of this (research suggests a generalized increased risk)

Afternoon exercise

Contrary to popular opinion, some study suggests that the greatest time to exercise from a physiological standpoint is in the afternoon.

Let’s look at the benefits and drawbacks of working out in the afternoon.

If you can fit in a noon workout, Hackney thinks it’s not a bad second option — especially if you’re attempting to fit in a long or intense workout.

Morning workouts are best for burning fat and reducing weight, but afternoon workouts may help you perform better because you’ll have eaten a meal or two by the time you get started.“When you eat, your blood sugar levels rise,” explains Hackney. “One of the things we need if we want to work at a higher intensity is sugar in the form of blood glucose.”

An afternoon workout might also help you avoid a mid-day slump. As per a study published in the Journal of Physiology, exercising between the hours of 1 and 4 p.m. can shift your body clock forward in the same manner that an early morning workout can. Even a brief walk might help you wake up and refocus.

According to a preliminary study published in 2018, your body burns roughly 10% more calories in the late afternoon than it does in the early morning or late at night. The researchers looked at bodies at rest, so they can’t say for sure what occurs when people exercise, but it’s probable that moving in the afternoon will burn a little more energy.


  • Increase workout performance since our body temperature is optimal and our muscles are at their strongest.
  • Prevent injuries – in the late afternoon, our muscles are adequately warm and most of us are aware.
  • Improved performance – our brains’ circadian cycles are in perfect working order.
  • Expel the stress that has built up in our bodies over the day.
  • Provide us with something to anticipate before we unwind in the evening.
  • Make exercise appear less difficult – research suggest that late in the day, people perceive exercise to be less difficult.
  • Make exercise convenient by, for example, exercising during our lunch hour.


  • Impose time constraints that may prevent us from getting a complete workout.
  • Distractions and other responsibilities prohibit us from exercising at all.
  • According to research, lung function is at its lowest at midday, which may influence our aerobic capacity.
  • Around 5 to 6 p.m., gyms are at their busiest, making it difficult to get on equipment.
  • During the afternoon, several gyms enforce 20-minute time limits on aerobics equipment.

Evening Exercise

For some of us, exercising in the evening is excellent.

The optimal time to exercise, according to certain research studies on lung function, body rhythms, temperature, and hormone levels, is around 6 p.m.

Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of working out in the evening.

Exercising is most convenient for many individuals after work. Nevertheless, it’s a common misconception that evening activity keeps you awake so much that falling asleep later is impossible.

While a study published in the Journal of Physiology found that exercising between 7 and 10 p.m. delays the body clock, resulting in later bedtimes, Hackney isn’t convinced. “Evidence shows that exercising, bathing, and then [immediately] getting in bed to sleep has no effect on your sleep cycle,” he says. He adds that if you undertake a stress-relieving activity like yoga at night, it may even help you sleep better.

While there is greater evidence linking morning workouts to weight loss, some evidence suggests that midnight activities can also help people lose weight. A research published in the international Experimental Physiology in 2019 indicated that evening workouts do not affect sleep and can aid with weight reduction or control by lowering levels of the hunger-stimulating hormone ghrelin over time.


  • At 6 p.m., most people’s body temperature and hormone levels are at their highest.
  • Muscles are soft and warm.
  • Because the perceived exertion is lower later in the day, some of us are able to work out harder.
  • Can aid in regulating the amount of food we want to consume for dinner.
  • Late evenings usually don’t have as many interruptions or diversions as other times of the day.
  • Exercising at the gym is frequently simpler later in the evening when the majority of the other members have gone home.
  • Late-night workouts can help us de-stress and turn off our brains after a long day of stimulation.
  • Exercising at night can make us feel more relaxed and exhausted, allowing us to sleep better.
  • Make it simpler to “team up” or find a workout buddy.
  • Can assist us in reducing the amount of food we consume, such as by assisting us in avoiding huge lunches.
  • Can aid in reducing the amount of food we want to eat for dinner.
  • Assist us in maximizing our fitness, muscular size, and strength – study reveals that the optimal time is between 3 and 7 p.m.


  • In the evenings, distractions and conflicting commitments are more common than in the mornings.
  • Late-night exercise may excite some of us, making it difficult to fall asleep.
  • Exercising outside at night is unquestionably riskier than doing so in the morning or afternoon.
  • Evenings in the summer are the warmest portion of the day, making it difficult to exercise.
  • The “afterburn” effect of night exercise is absent since our metabolism slows down when we sleep.


When it comes to exercise, the bottom line is that how much we exercise is more important than how much we exercise.

If we can’t or don’t want to workout in the morning, but can in the afternoon or evening, we should.

When it comes to working out, consistency is one of the most crucial factors to consider.

If we exercise at the same time every day, our “internal clock” will adjust in time, giving us the energy and preparing us emotionally and physically for a workout.

This is especially true if we are preparing for a particular event.

It’s a good idea to do the most of our training at this time if we’re training for a fun run that starts at 7.30 a.m.

If something isn’t damaged, don’t try to solve it. If you currently have a workout time and schedule that is working for you, stick with it.

The time of day may make a difference for vigorous exercise, but for something like an easy walk, the difference between working out in the morning, afternoon or evening is likely to be minor at best.


Do you know when the appropriate time is to exercise to lose the most fat and weight?

This article looked at the benefits and drawbacks of exercising at different times of the day in order to help us all get more out of our exercises and come closer to our weight-loss objectives.

Regardless of what the science suggests, each person is unique, and their body chemistry and inner clock are unique as well. Something works for someone else might not work for us. Indeed, what works best for us today may not work for us in a few months or years.

The most crucial aspect of exercise is that we engage in it. What we do and when we do it are significantly less essential.

The optimal time for all of us to exercise is when we have no interruptions, when we have enough energy and body temperature, and when we can exercise as consistently as possible throughout time.

Thank you for visiting and good luck with your fitness.

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