Q: What is the best time of day for working out?
A: It depends on the reason you are exercising, and it depends on you. Are you exercising for strength, flexibility, aerobic conditioning, pain control? Many experts discourage intense exercise late in the day as this tends to interfere with sleep. In my case, I sleep much better after a good workout, so it is not unusual for me to do a short run after 9:00 in the evening, and then get to sleep by 11:00. In my book, anything that helps you sleep better is a good thing.
Another important factor is your lifestyle. If you have a high stress job, (and who doesn’t?) you may need to work out shortly after work is over, just so you can blow off steam and reduce the stress you have accumulated throughout the day. Let’s say you have a high stress job, but you get off work at midnight. Your gym is closed and you have no desire to run the dark streets by yourself. What can you do?
Try a relaxation workout before going to bed. Walking 10-20 minutes would be a good relaxation workout, though you may not have a safe place to walk. Stretching or yoga would also be a good relaxation exercise to do before bedtime. Then, first thing in your day, hit the gym or hit the streets to do your high energy workout.
One more consideration when trying to answer the question, “What is the best time of day for working out?” is your own personal habits. When is the best time for you to exercise – so that you can and will do your exercise program? If you hate exercising in the morning, then don’t plan morning workouts. Working out only works if you actually, you know, work out. Schedule your exercise so you can do it on a regular basis. I would recommend 3-4 days a week, but if you only want to exercise 1-2 days a week, schedule your work outs at whatever time works best 1-2 days a week.