About Time: Are Evening Workouts The Most Effective?

If you’re a “morning person” accustomed to hitting the gym before the sun rises (maybe heading to Horsham, PA, for group fitness classes at Horsham Athletic Club) and yet you’re struggling to reach your fitness goals, recent research suggests you might want to consider a change in routine.

On April 18, 2019, a physiology journal called Cell Metabolism published two different studies that monitored how bodies respond to exercise at different times of the day. To put it more scientifically, the teams of researchers attempted to measure how circadian rhythms affect metabolism.

The findings? The evening might be the best time for the most effective workout.

Of course, as with any scientific studies done in a laboratory, it’s difficult to assess how the results apply to real life. In fact, while these particular studies did involve some humans, they looked mostly at mice and how they performed on treadmills at different times of the day.

One team of researchers found:

  • The mice tended to demonstrate greater exercise capacity, and thus performed better, at the end of their activity period.
  • The 12 humans involved were shown to use less oxygen when they ran on the treadmill late in the day, therefore getting a more effective workout.

The second team of researchers structured their experiment differently, looking at the muscle tissue in the mice and how it changed in response to running on the treadmill at various times of the day. The mice experienced greater metabolic benefits later in the morning, rather than at the end of the day.

It’s important to note: Mice are nocturnal animals, and researchers basically had to translate their findings to equate to humans’ daylight-oriented schedules. So, while it might be cute to imagine a bunch of mice jogging away, are these studies enough to inspire a complete overhaul of your exercise routine? That’s up to you.

Here are a few parting thoughts to keep in mind:

  • Making time to exercise is of utmost importance, and whenever you have flexibility in your schedule – first thing in the morning, noon, evening –  is a great time to work out.
  • Variety helps keep exercise interesting. It might be refreshing to try a different routine or mix up your current routine, if possible, to avoid falling into a rut.
  • Horsham Athletic Club caters to morning people and nocturnal creatures alike with our full daily schedule of classes, a convenient option for group fitness buffs in Warrington, PA, and all the nearby communities. We also offer one-on-one personal training and nutritional counseling. Browse our website or give us a call to find out more.

Sources: https://www.bustle.com/p/is-it-better-to-work-out-at-night-new-research-shows-that-evening-exercisers-might-be-onto-something-17129596

https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2019-04/cp-tse041119.php

https://www.cell.com/cell-metabolism/fulltext/S1550-4131(19)30183-4

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