The Best Time for Exercise: Morning vs. Evening

When it comes to exercising, timing can be everything. Many people wonder whether it’s better to work out in the morning or in the evening. Recent research, including a significant study from the UK Biobank, sheds light on the benefits of both, especially for individuals with obesity. Here, we’ll explore the advantages to help you find the best time to exercise for your lifestyle and health goals.

Morning Exercise


  1. Boosts Metabolism: Exercising in the morning can jumpstart your metabolism, helping you burn more calories throughout the day. This phenomenon, known as the “afterburn effect,” can be especially beneficial for weight loss.
  2. Consistent Routine: Morning workouts can be easier to stick to. Starting your day with exercise means you’re less likely to skip it due to unexpected events or fatigue later in the day.
  3. Improved Mood: Physical activity releases endorphins, the “feel-good” hormones. A morning workout can set a positive tone for the day, enhancing your mood and energy levels.
  4. Better Sleep: Some studies suggest that morning exercisers tend to have better sleep patterns compared to those who exercise later in the day. A good night’s sleep is crucial for overall health and recovery.


  1. Body Stiffness: Your body temperature is lower in the morning, which can make your muscles and joints feel stiffer. A longer warm-up might be necessary to prevent injury.
  2. Time Constraints: Finding time for a morning workout can be challenging, especially if you have a busy schedule or are not a morning person.

Evening Exercise

A recent study published in Diabetes Care explored the timing of moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) and its association with health outcomes in adults with obesity. The findings are noteworthy and support the benefits of evening exercise.


  1. Lower Risk of Mortality and Disease: The study found that evening MVPA was associated with the lowest risk of all-cause mortality (HR 0.39), cardiovascular disease (CVD) (HR 0.64), and microvascular disease (MVD) (HR 0.76). These results were more significant than those observed for morning or afternoon exercise.
  2. Peak Performance: Your body temperature and hormone levels are higher in the late afternoon and early evening, which can improve muscle function, strength, and endurance. This can lead to a more effective workout.
  3. Stress Relief: Exercising after work can be a great way to unwind and relieve stress accumulated throughout the day.
  4. Flexibility: Evening workouts can be more convenient for those with tight morning schedules. You might have more time to exercise without feeling rushed.


  1. Potential for Disruption: Late workouts, especially vigorous ones, might interfere with your sleep if done too close to bedtime. It’s important to find a balance that doesn’t affect your ability to fall asleep.
  2. Less Consistency: Evening plans or fatigue after a long day can sometimes lead to skipped workouts. Staying committed to an evening routine may require more discipline.

Finding Your Perfect Time

Ultimately, the best time to exercise is when it fits seamlessly into your lifestyle and when you feel your best. Here are some tips to help you decide:

  1. Listen to Your Body: Pay attention to how your body feels at different times of the day. Some people naturally feel more energetic and motivated in the morning, while others peak in the evening.
  2. Consider Health Benefits: For individuals with obesity, evening MVPA has been shown to offer significant health benefits, including a lower risk of mortality, CVD, and MVD. This might be a compelling reason to favor evening workouts.
  3. Experiment: Try working out at various times to see what feels best for you. You might find that a combination of morning and evening workouts suits your schedule and preferences.
  4. Consistency is Key: No matter when you choose to exercise, consistency is crucial. Regular physical activity is what will lead to long-term health benefits.

By considering your personal preferences, daily schedule, and how your body responds, you can find the ideal time to work out and make exercise a rewarding part of your routine. The recent study highlights the importance of evening MVPA for individuals with obesity, offering valuable insights for optimizing health outcomes.


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