What is the optimal time to exercise?

While any time of day is better than none at all, the timing of exercise can make a difference. And as you know from reading these articles, I am always interested in new techniques and understanding surrounding exercise and fitness.

Morning workouts offer the most benefits for weight loss

According to Anthony Hackney, a professor at the University of North Carolina, working out before breakfast can lead to greater fat loss as the body’s hormonal profile in the morning is primed for burning stored fat. A study published in the National Library of Medicine supports this claim, showing that exercising on an empty stomach can burn up to 20% more body fat. Additionally, morning exercise may help control eating habits throughout the day, as indicated by studies from Brigham Young University and Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise.

Afternoon exercise helps focus

Afternoon workouts also have advantages, as they can typically be done at a higher intensity due to higher blood sugar levels after eating. Exercising between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. can also help shift your body clock forward and improve focus, as found by a study in the Journal of Physiology.

Evening workouts reduce hunger pangs

While some argue that exercising at night leads to poor sleep quality, evidence suggests that this is not always the case. Unless you are exercising right before bedtime, evening workouts are unlikely to affect sleep quality. Moreover, a 2019 study in Experimental Physiology found that nighttime exercise can reduce levels of the hunger-stimulating hormone ghrelin, which may aid in weight loss.

Ultimately, the best time to exercise is the time that works for you and can be maintained as part of a healthy, sustainable routine. So, whether it’s morning, afternoon, or evening, just get moving!

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