Morning Vs Evening workout debateWeekend Plus Desk
his is one question that continues to fuel the debate for fitness lovers. Is exercise better in the morning or night? Studies say timing matters if you want optimum results. Those in the favour of the â€˜amâ€™ swear by their 6:00am yoga stretch or run, and others who love hitting the streets post sunset, vouch for how the cooler weather optimises their fitness regimen.
Says fitness trainer, Ankit Maheshwari, â€œPeople, especially gym first-timers, often ask this question: what is the best time to work out in - morning, late evening or night? This really depends on the person. For X, an optimal time to hit the gym may be at a certain time while Y may feel fresher at another.â€
Actor Mark Wahlberg, who loves early morning fitness, has started a #4am club on Instagram. While you may find it tough to follow suit, we present a list of advantages and disadvantages of both morning and night. Which one suits you best?
Toned Morning=Toned Up Day
Breaking into a sweat in the morning brings about enhanced productivity and a sharper mind for the rest of your day. Says marketing trainee Rishabh Sheth, â€œI used to feel the â€˜three pm slumpâ€™ every day, but since I began to attend the gym in the mornings two weeks ago, I no longer feel that fatigue. I think it has speeded up my metabolism.â€
Busts Negativity and Anxiety
Exercising increases the level of endorphins, which act as natural mood lifters. They help fight feelings of anxiety and depression. So, exercising in the morning can leave you feeling upbeat for the rest of the day.
Gives A Better Nightâ€™s Sleep
Those who find it difficult to sleep after exercise in the evening, can switch to the am. Studies find that morning exercisers have fewer complaints about a bad night. A study published by the US National Library of Medicine looked into participants exercising at different times and how it affected their slumber. It was found that exercising in the morning led to a bigger decline in late evening/night blood pressure. Thus, those who worked out in the morning hour experienced better and more deep sleep cycles.
Lesser Risk of Fat Storage
Fitness trainer Madhuri Ruia, says, â€œIdeally, find a way to work out at any time. Iâ€™d say, the morning hour supports exercise as the body is ready for activity. We have seen that levels of cortisol also do not go up so much in the morning as much the evening, adding up to lesser risk of fat storage.â€
You Have To Leave the Bed Early
A significant disadvantage of the morning workout is that you are forced to get out of bed and haul yourself to the gym, even if you still feel sleepy from the night before or if you have a looming day ahead. â€œI am an early riser, but I have an unpredictable schedule and suddenly a lot of work crops up for me. I realised having to deal with both gym and work in the morning will drain my energy early,â€ reveals entrepreneur Ashwin Shah.
May Make You Change Your Schedule
Hitting the gym before breakfast may make you re-plan your morning. You will have to get up and plan a pre-workout meal, then go for some exercise and come back and either eat or carry the food to office. You may also have to alter the work commute timing.
Exercising in the morning could pose a danger for those suffering from hypertension. â€œAlso, those who are diabetic, need to eat before exercise to avoid risk of hypoglycaemia (condition caused by a low level of blood glucose). They can have oats or a fruit,â€ says Dr Abhay Vispute, MD, internal medicine.
Your Mornings Won't Be Sleep-Deprived
If you canâ€™t leave the bed readily, go for an evening workout. Says corporate trainer Satish Ved, â€œNot feeling like you slept enough leads many people to make excuses to bunk the gym. So, switch to an evening slot, rather than skipping on regular exercise completely.â€
Lets You Blow Off Steam
Had a long, gruelling day at the workplace? The best antidote to that is to hit the exercise button. Getting into a sweat eliminates stress, counters anxiety and allows for clearer thinking as exercise reduces levels of the body's stress hormone - cortisol. â€œIâ€™ve found that every time I hit the gym after a long day, I end up feeling calmer,â€ says financial analyst Tamanna Jha.
Midnight Workouts Apt For Travellers, Late-Night Shift
For those with long work hours, travellers and ones who grapple with global work timetables, the pm is apt. Instead of being workoutdeprived, you simply check into the hotel gym or office fitness zone and exercise.
Greater Chance of Copping Out
In the evening, there is more of a chance to cancel your workout with things on the social diary - a movie, dinner out etc. If you donâ€™t want to derail the workout plan, donâ€™t keep it for the evening hour.
Workouts Are Riskier
The post-sunset hour may be cooler, but the waning light also plays spoilsport when it comes to the kinds of workouts to try. It may be riskier riding a cycle or going for a run, owing to safety concerns. Shift to cardio gym workouts instead.
Affects Your Sleep
Canâ€™t sleep easily? Avoid a night workout. Says trainer Jivesh Shetty, â€œA tough workout increases the body temperature, heart rate and releases epinephrine, which makes the body take hours to wind down. For some, it is tough to sleep after that.â€
Dinner Time Changes
PM workouts mean exercise before bedtime, so keep a buffer between the meal and bedtime. Explains Jivesh, â€œHeavy weight training at night requires one to eat well. Keep a gap as tucking into a protein-rich meal and then sleeping can lead to poor food digestion and sleep.â€
Working out increases the body temperature, which can interfere with the ability to fall asleep. â€œStop working out three hours before you plan to hit the bed,â€ advises sleep specialist, Dr Aditya Agrawal.