Research on sports performance has picked up tantalizing clues that morning or afternoon exercising can influence the success of your workout, depending on how you view your goals. While no study has found nighttime workouts to have specific benefits, it appears that any time you choose to work out is better than no time at all.
Morning Exercise for Weight Control
Several studies indicate that early morning exercise may improve gains in weight control. A 2010 study conducted in Belgium and published in the Journal of Physiology asked its male subjects to indulge in high-calorie, high-fat holiday-style meals. The men who exercised before breakfast each day avoided the weight gain and glucose spikes that the nonexercisers experienced. Another study, conducted at Appalachian State University in 2011, found that participants who exercised at 7 a.m. had improved sleep patterns and reduced blood pressure.
Afternoon Exercise for Training Improvement
Afternoon exercise, according to a 2009 French study that was published in Chronobiology, may be beneficial for those who seek serious improvement in their training output and sports performance. A study done by researchers at the University of California at Los Angeles on laboratory mice found that when mice were allowed to exercise in the afternoon, their body chemicals that regulate sleep were enhanced. The study was published in 2012 in the Journal of Physiology.
- Dr. Oz: What's the Best Time to Exercise?
- The New York Times Well Blog: Phys Ed -- The Benefits of Exercising Before Breakfast
- The New York Times Well Blog: Why Afternoon May Be the Best Time to Exercise
- Journal of Physiology: Training in the Fasted State Improves Glucose Tolerance During Fat-Rich Diet
- Appalachian State University News: Early Morning Exercise is the Best for Reducing Blood Pressure and Improving Sleep
- Chronobiology: Time-of-Day Dffects on Fatigue During a Sustained Anaerobic Test in Well-Trained Cyclists
- Journal of Physiology: Voluntary Scheduled Exercise Alters Diurnal Rhythms of Behaviour, Physiology and Gene Expression in Wild-Type and Vasoactive Intestinal Peptide-Deficient Mice.