PTD0316_LeadPatients often ask if there is a right time of day to exercise. They wonder whether it makes a difference if they work out in the morning, afternoon or evening, and if it’s possible to synchronize their body’s natural rhythms with their daily activities.

Growing research suggests that paying attention to your body clock and its effects on your energy level or alertness may be worth a try because of the potential health benefits. Whether you are an early bird or a night owl actually depends on your body’s circadian rhythm, which influences bodily functions such as temperature, blood pressure, hormone levels and heart rate—all affecting your body’s readiness for exercise.

Once you have chosen a time of day to exercise, consistency and persistence are key. However, paying attention to your internal clock may also help improve your results. While there is no reliable evidence suggesting that calories are burned most effectively at a certain time of day, the time of day can influence your feelings toward exercise. When it comes to body rhythms, recent studies have found that

  • the risk of injury is lowest and physical performance peaks between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m.
  • muscles are strongest between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m.
  • lung function is most efficient in the late afternoon
  • joints and muscles are most flexible in the early evening

Additional research shows that if your goal is weight loss or overall health improvement, morning workouts can help lower blood sugar throughout the day and promote better sleep at night. Afternoon workouts, on the other hand, can help you relax and unwind after a long, stressful day, which can also be extremely beneficial.

You don’t have to be an expert on circadian rhythms to determine the right time of day for your fitness activities. We can help customize a program that fits your lifestyle, fitness goals and daily commitments. Together we can determine which exercises are most enjoyable for you and make you feel your best.

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