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Exercising is essential for physical and mental wellbeing, yet even the most ardent athletes and fitness buffs can be hindered by a lack of time and energy. A big part of this can be attributed to the common assumption that workouts should take place early in the day – that is, if you want the best results. Yet, this notion is being increasingly questioned, as the idea of evening workouts is gaining traction. Wondering why evening sports might be the best time to exercise? Let’s take a closer look.
Unpacking the Benefits of After-Hours Athletics
As more people are looking for ways to fit exercise into their hectic day-to-day lives, the question of when to exercise is becoming more important. If you have to choose between a pre-work gym session and a post-work workout, which should you go for? It might come as a surprise, but evening workouts could be the answer.
For those who work during the day, exercising in the evening may be more convenient for various reasons. With the office and the daily commute out of the way, you can combine your exercise with other tasks such as running errands. Evening workouts also mean you can catch up with friends, as you can combine fun activities such as a game of soccer or a yoga class.
Breaking the Conventional Rules of Exercise
It’s not just practicalities that are making people question the conventional rules of exercise. General consensus previously held that sports and physical activity should take place in the morning, as that’s when you have the most energy. Additionally, the idea was that nighttime exercise would interfere with the body’s natural rhythm, leading to a lack of energy the following day.
However, experts now believe that physical activity at night can be beneficial. For example, according to a Harvard Medical School study, people who exercise in the evening have fewer problems with pain and sleep, and more energy during the day. What’s more, recent research has suggested that low-to-moderate levels of exercise can improve sleep quality.
Delving into the Advantages of Evening Workouts
At this point, you may be wondering why evening sports might be the best time to exercise. Well, there are several advantages that happen to come together in the late afternoon and evening. Firstly, the body’s core temperature is highest at this time, which is ideal for exercise – especially for sports such as running and swimming.
Additionally, people tend to be more focused towards the end of the day, which could help you to concentrate more during an evening workout. The advantage of this is that you can get more out of your workout, as you’ll be able to put more effort into your exercises. For those who find it hard to motivate themselves in the morning, the fact that they’ll be in the right frame of mind to exercise could be a huge plus.
Why There May Be More to the ‘Early to Bed, Early to Rise’ Mantra
Lastly, it’s worth considering why evening sports might be the best time to exercise in terms of recovery. Physical activity in the evening can help the body to release endorphins, which can reduce stress and tension, while also helping you to relax. This can have a positive effect on sleep, allowing you to rest more soundly and wake up feeling refreshed.
There has long been the mantra of ‘early to bed, early to rise’, but it appears that there may be more to it than that. Evening workouts can have as much benefit as morning workouts, so should not be overlooked. The key is to find the best time for you, as this depends on your personal preference and lifestyle.
The idea that sports should be done in the morning is increasingly being challenged, and it’s becoming clear that evening workouts can be just as beneficial. People who find it difficult to get up early or prefer to exercise in the evening should now feel more confident in their choice. Evening exercise can help to reduce stress, release endorphins and make sure you get enough sleep, while also giving you the opportunity to catch up with friends. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide when the best time to exercise is – but hopefully, this article has given you a few things to consider.
- Lambiase, M. “The Benefits of Evening Exercise.” Harvard Health Publishing, Harvard Medical School, 28 Aug. 2019, www.health.harvard.edu/blog/the-benefits-of-evening-exercise-2019060717102.
- “Exercise Optimum Time of Day.” American Council on Exercise, 9 July 2020, www.acefitness.org/education-and-resources/lifestyle/blog/7002/exercise-optimum-time-of-day.
- “When Is the Best Time of Day to Exercise?” WebMD, WebMD, 18 Nov. 2017, www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/features/best-time-exercise#1.
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