The question we're posing right now in East Texas: Is there actually a "best" time to work out, or is that just something we've heard touted?

So, how are those New Years' Resolutions going so far? Hmm. I personally reserve the right to remain silent. ;)

Kidding, kidding. Honestly, I'm still trying to figure out an exercise schedule that works with my new schedule. It's been a challenge, but I'm going to figure it out. And so lately I've been doing a bit of research when I happened upon a question that many of us have asked.

Is there actually a "best" time to exercise, or is that a myth?

First of all, there are many reasons I have a healthy envy of "early risers." Granted, these days I AM an early riser. But I'm referring to those who seem naturally wired to wake up with the chickens and get in their workout before the pressures of the day. Especially my fellow women. Why?

Well, I certainly don't mean to generalize. But generally, most women I know have a few extra steps when it comes to getting ready in the morning. So, the idea of getting up and getting that exercise with all of that sweating out of the way before hopping in the shower to prepare for the day sounds marvelous.

For years I'd always heard it's better to exercise in the morning.

Interestingly though, studies reveal there are perks to both getting the workout in first thing and doing later in the day. Thank goodness. So what are the pros of each?

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Pros Of An AM Workout:

Kike Vega, Unsplash
Kike Vega, Unsplash

Some people find they have more energy in the morning. You've just had a (hopefully) full night's sleep. A morning perk? A published study in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise showed evidence that exercising first thing will help increase your energy levels throughout the day. On top of that, you've set a healthy tone for the day, which may encourage you to continue making healthy choices throughout.

You'll also enjoy the benefits of "increased blood flow, which enhances mental capacity and productivity," according to the director of education for StretchLab, Austin Martinez. It may also help lower your stress levels, as well as your blood pressure.

The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism published a study in 2019 that, according to writer Suja Natarajan, "found that exercising in a fasting state burned more fat and helped control blood sugar in obese men." One would hope the same is true for women, of course.

Pros Of A PM Workout:

Jennifer Birdie Shawker
Jennifer Birdie Shawker

So, if you're not an early exerciser, don't fret. Turns out there are unique benefits to working out later in the day--but not too late, of course. Working out too intensely within an hour before bedtime could do a number on your sleep.

Another study published in the Journal of Sports Sciences revealed that when it comes to optimal "reaction time," the afternoon and early evening are ideal. What does reaction time help with? Endurance and stamina--which is what you want when delving into HIIT training.

Some research even suggests that muscle training in the evening may help with developing muscle mass. One more big benefit? A better capacity for higher performance when doing high-intensity workouts because your core temperature is at its peak in the late afternoon.

Well, I'm relieved to hear that. Although, I think the benefits of the morning workout have inspired me to at least try a couple of times a week to attempt an AM training session--on the weekend...maybe.

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