While our daily routines often determine when we exercise, studies show that morning or afternoon/evening exercise routines have particular physiological responses. If you have the luxury of choosing when, you can target your workout accordingly.
Certain studies* indicate that our our body’s metabolisms seem to adapt better to a later day exercise routine. By this we can interpret that one of our primary objectives, to raise our metabolism and hence burn more calories, would be best served with afternoon or evening exercise. It has also been anecdotally observed that workouts at day’s end gets rid of that nervous energy accumulated by the day’s goings-on. We are more likely assured of a decent night’s sleep after a good late day workout.
More detail, please?!
For those interested in the details, cortisol and thyrotropin, which are body hormones, were shown to increase with late day workouts. Cortisol helps the body process sugar substrates and acts as an anti inflammatory in some circumstances. It also modulates the immune system. Too much cortisol (occurs with extreme stress) can negatively affect the immune system. Exercise, being a great stress reducer, will in turn help prevent this. Thyrotropin, as the name suggests, stimulates the thyroid to produce its own hormones. So end of day exercise is a great way to ensure hormonal stability.
What about a morning workout?
Training first thing in the morning however, seems to reduce glucose levels better than later workouts. It is perhaps wise for those with sugar concerns in their metabolism, to choose exercise in the morning.
Clearly, exercising at various times of the day has a different effect on our hormone status. Top athletes frequently have workouts in the morning and afternoon. The morning workouts for them are usually technical work (dealing with precision and technique) but their more physical routines at which time they expend the most energy, are in the afternoon.
But for most of us, we need not subject ourselves to such rigorous schedules. Exercising a few times a week will suffice! Our work and family commitments are frequently the determinant of when we exercise. An early or late day workout will both be beneficial. However, it is great to know that if we wish to target specific objectives, this can be done.
Either way it’s a win-win!
* Reference to study