Should you exercise in the morning or work out after the workday? Dr. Jayne Morgan, executive director of health and community education at Piedmont Healthcare in Atlanta, said it depends on your goals. She said some recent studies show that men and women differ on when it’s optimal to go work out.
“Women seem to benefit more in the morning, not only burning fat, but burning abdominal fat and lowering blood pressure,” Morgan said. “Whereas men lowered their cholesterol, lowered their blood pressure and also decrease cardiovascular disease risk if they exercise in the morning.”
But the best time to work out may just depend on your goals.
“What happens in the evening, women especially build more muscle strength, especially upper body, strength and endurance,” Morgan said. “And we tend to be weaker in our upper body and in our pecs. Men, regardless of what time of day they exercise, also seem to build muscle strength and muscle mass (in the evening).”
Her analysis comes a year after a study that showed similar results.
Morgan also noted other benefits to exercising early in the morning, including that people who exercise in the morning tend to make better nutrition choices.
“People who exercise in the morning tend to have a little bit more energy in the day even though it’s harder to get started,” she said. “It revs up that adrenaline and it also shows that people who exercise in the morning tend to then make healthier choices throughout the day and tend to take more steps throughout the day.”
While morning exercise can set the tone for the day, Morgan noted that those who exercise in the evening are less injury-prone.
“So there are benefits from exercising in the evening as well, especially with regard to reaction times are faster,” she said.