Why Evening Might Be the Best Time of Day to Exercise

Article written by Alexander Isaakovich

Exercise is an integral part of a healthy lifestyle, and its benefits range from increased cardiovascular health to improved mood and mental clarity. Even though the specific time of day you choose to exercise might seem like a minor detail, it could significantly impact the effectiveness of your workout.

Full shot woman sitting on bench
Source: Image by freepik from Freepik

This article will delve into the reasons why the evening might be the best time of day to exercise, taking into account various factors such as body changes throughout the day and the impact of the circadian clock on athletes. In this enlightening exploration, we'll delve into the science of nocturnal workouts and why they might be the secret weapon you've been missing. We'll discuss how your body's rhythms and hormonal changes throughout the day can impact your performance and recovery.

How does the night owl hold an advantage? Could the tranquility of twilight truly enhance your fitness journey? Prepare to unlock the potential of evening exercise and revolutionize your approach to fitness. Join us as we delve into the fascinating world of workouts after sundown.

Body changes throughout the day

Our bodies go through several physiological changes throughout the day which can affect our physical performance. Hormonal fluctuations, body temperature shifts, and varying energy levels all contribute to how our bodies respond to physical stress. For instance, in the morning, your body temperature is lower, which can make muscles stiff and increase the risk of injury.

On the other hand, body temperature peaks in the late afternoon and early evening, which can lead to improved performance and reduced risk of injury. This is because a higher body temperature can improve muscle flexibility, reaction times, and strength. Understanding these daily physiological alterations can serve as a guide to optimize our workout routines or physical activities.

By aligning our intense workouts during periods of peak body temperature, we can enhance our performance, minimize risk, and maximize benefits. Conversely, gentler, restorative exercises can be scheduled for the morning, when the body is still warming up. Thus, by listening to our bodies and adapting to its rhythms, we can not only enhance our physical performance but also prevent unnecessary strain or injury.

Circadian clock could affect athletes

The circadian clock, or 'body clock', can also play a significant role in determining the optimal time for exercise. It's a biological mechanism that controls our sleep-wake cycle, hormone release, eating habits, digestion, and body temperature. This clock can affect our physical performance, with several studies showing that athletic performance tends to peak in the late afternoon or early evening. This is attributed to the fact that our bodies are warmer, our reaction times are quicker and our heart rate and blood pressure are optimally balanced for intense physical activity during this time.

Harnessing the power of our circadian rhythm, we can strategically schedule our workouts to optimize results. A simple shift in timing can make our training more effective, boost our energy levels, and reduce injury risk. So, whether you're a morning lark or a night owl, understanding and respecting your body's internal clock can elevate your fitness journey, making every sweat session count. Hence, the circadian clock is not just a timekeeper, but a key player in our pursuit of health and wellness.

Make your rhythms work for you

Understanding your own body rhythms is crucial in maximizing the effectiveness of your workouts. If you're an early bird, getting up at dawn for a run might feel great. But if you're a night owl, your performance may be better later in the day. Being in tune with your body's natural rhythms can help you decide the best time to exercise.

And if your body clock is inclined towards the evening, it would be worthwhile to schedule your workouts in the latter part of the day to take advantage of your peak physical performance. Harnessing the power of your body's chronotype can be a game-changer in your fitness journey. By aligning your workout schedule with your body's optimal functioning time, you can enhance your athletic performance and make every effort count.

Whether it's the serene quiet of the dawn or the energetic rush of the evening, choose a time that resonates with your body's rhythm. Remember, it's not only about when you exercise, but also how effectively you do it. So, embrace the powerful synergy between your body clock and workout routine, and witness a significant transformation in your fitness level and overall wellbeing.

The impact of exercise on sleep

Exercise can also positively impact your sleep. Physical activity increases the production of adenosine, a chemical in the brain that promotes sleep.

This effect is more pronounced if you exercise in the evening. An intense workout session in the evening can lead to a more restorative sleep as it could help you fall asleep more quickly and experience deeper sleep cycles. However, it's important to avoid exercising too close to bedtime as the adrenaline and cortisol released during exercise can interfere with your ability to fall asleep. In addition, exercise can help manage chronic insomnia and other sleep disorders.

The calming after-effects of a good workout extend beyond the immediate post-exercise period, leading to longer, more quality sleep. It's like hitting the "reset" button on your body's sleep cycle.

Even a moderate exercise routine can make a significant difference. It's not about exhausting yourself each night; it's about creating a healthy and balanced lifestyle. So, lace up those sneakers and find a routine that suits you.

Remember, it's not just about fitting into those skinny jeans or building muscle, it's also about nurturing a good night's sleep.

The influence of lifestyle and personal preferences

Lifestyle and personal preferences also significantly influence when you should exercise. Some people may find that their work schedules or family commitments only allow for morning or midday workouts. Others may simply prefer the quiet and solitude that comes with late-night gym sessions.

It's crucial to find a routine that fits your lifestyle and preferences and stick to it, as consistency is key to seeing long-term results from your workouts. Finding your perfect workout time doesn't simply boil down to science or statistical data.

It's a personal journey that intertwines with your unique lifestyle and preferences. Whether you're a morning bird who loves to kickstart the day with an energizing run, or an evening owl who finds tranquility in the silence of late-night gym sessions, what matters most is discovering what works best for YOU. It's about creating a sustainable routine that resonates with your rhythm, and committing to it consistently.

Because in the realm of fitness, consistency isn't just a key, it's the master key to unlock the door towards long-term, impactful results.


In conclusion, while there's no 'one-size-fits-all' answer to the best time of day to exercise, there's compelling evidence to suggest that the evening might be the best time for many people. This is due to physiological factors such as body temperature and hormonal fluctuations, as well as the influence of the circadian clock. That said, the most important thing is to find a time that suits your lifestyle and preferences, and that allows you to maintain a consistent exercise routine.

After all, the best time to exercise is when you will do it consistently! In conclusion, the optimal time for exercise isn't a universal decree but rather a personal preference. The evening, backed by persuasive evidence, may offer enhanced benefits due to physiological factors like body temperature and hormone levels, and the sway of our biological clock.

However, the ultimate deciding factor should be your personal schedule and inclinations. The ideal time to exercise is when it seamlessly fits into your routine, promoting consistency, the key to fitness success. Remember, it's persistence in your fitness journey that reaps the most benefits, not the clock's hands!

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