What Research Says About The Best Time Of Day To Exercise

Lauren Lehmkuhl
What Research Says About The Best Time Of Day To Exercise

If you enjoy exercising, you might wonder what the best time of day to exercise is. Truth be told - the best time is any time that works for you and your schedule! 

Fitting in a workout can be difficult, so stick with what works for you if you have limited time! However, research has shown us that exercising at different times of the day can have different benefits and considerations. 

Let’s take a look at the different times of day and how they can affect your individual health goals! 

What Is The Best Time To Exercise?


If you’re able to carve out time in the morning to work out, props to you! Research does support the morning as being one of the ideal times to work out, for a few different reasons why. It may boost your mood and focus.

From a mental health perspective, starting your day with a workout can clear your mind and help boost your mood.

Your body produces feel-good neurotransmitters called endorphins when working out, which can keep you happy long past your workout! 

Getting your workout done in the morning can also make you feel  accomplished, leading to a more productivity and focus. 

Better Sleep

One of the hugest potential benefits of exercising in the morning is that it may improve your circadian rhythmYour circadian rhythm controls your sleep cycle and helps you feel alert in the morning and tired at night. 

Exercising in the morning appears to be better at initiating your parasympathetic nervous system; also known as the “rest and digest” system, to promote restful sleep. 

It’s easy for your sleep and wake cycle to get thrown off by a number of factors, and especially if you often feel groggy in the morning, a regular exercise schedule can help you feel more alert in the morning and more ready for an early bedtime at night! Quality sleep is important for the regeneration and growth of muscle fibers, so it’s an essential part of reaching your fitness goals. 

Boost Metabolism For The Day

One of the benefits of exercise is that it can increase your metabolism for hours after your workout. This means that you may burn more calories at rest!

Since morning workouts occur before most meals of the day, this “after-burn” effect is favorable, especially in the morning.

Boosting your metabolism means that your body will use more energy for fuel during your day. Which in turn helps increase your total caloric burn. If weight loss is one of your goals, morning might be the best time of day to exercise for you!  

Potential Cons

Morning workouts don’t come without some potential cons. Everyone’s body is different; some people may not feel like they have enough energy in the morning to complete a workout. When you are just waking up, it is natural to feel a bit groggy which can lead to lower endurance workouts. 

Our bodies are also stiffer in the morning, so it’s essential to make extra time for stretching and warming up! Lastly, being consistent with bedtime is important so that you are not missing out on sleep. If waking up earlier starts to turn into you getting less sleep, you might be harming your health. 


Not everyone has the ability to work out in the afternoon, but if you do, it’s a great option! 

Greater Endurance 

You may notice that you tend to feel more energized and flexible in the afternoon and up for physical movement. Greater endurance is one of the biggest advantages of afternoon workouts since many people feel tired and stiff in the morning.

With more energy, you may be able to work out harder and longer to reach your fitness and health goals quicker! And since your body is already warm from the day, you’ll feel less rigid than you might during a morning workout. 

Glucose and Lipid Levels 

One interesting benefit of afternoon exercise is that it has been shown in some studies to improve blood glucose and lipid levels more than morning exercise. 

If you are diabetic or have hypertension, the afternoon might be the best time of day to exercise for you! 

It Can Energize Your Day

Breaking up a workday with some exercise can actually energize you and keep you focused for the rest of the day. 

This may seem counterintuitive since workouts can be tiring, but research shows that they can actually boost your energy when the workouts aren’t overly strenuous.

If you still need to be productive after your workout, just make sure that you are not doing long endurance workouts. These may wear out your body and make you feel more tired. Instead, just doing a 30-minute workout can give you the energy to keep up with the rest of the day! 


Stress Relief for Sleep

One of the greatest benefits of evening exercise is that after a long day, it can feel incredibly stress-relieving. Many people enjoy blowing off steam before bed and the endorphins that are released from exercise may boost your mood before you sleep. A relaxed mood often equals better sleep! 

If anxiety or restlessness often prevent you from getting quality sleep, this might be the best time for you to dedicate yourself to exercise. Sometimes you just need to tire out your body a bit to be able to fall asleep more quickly! 


As mentioned above, morning exercise does seem to have better benefits for your circadian rhythm. This is due to the fact that exercise can boost the production of neurotransmitters that may actually keep you awake rather than promote sleep.

By telling your body to “go” late at night, it’s possible for some people that it may make it harder to wind down for bed. 

If you enjoy nighttime exercise, try to leave at least a few hours between your workout and bedtime so that it doesn’t have the opposite effect that you are looking for! Additionally, keeping your exercise to moderate intensity may be better for sleep than doing high intensity at night. 

In Summary

So, what will the best time of day to exercise be for you? 

Whatever you decide, just know that exercise can benefit your health at any time of the day! If you’re still not sure what time works best for you, make sure to reach out to your nutrition coach in your Vessel app for more support with this topic. 

Happy exercising!