Lifestyle/ Wellness

Best Time to Exercise: Before or After Clocking In?

Guest Post by Kelsey Morgan

When your alarm blares early in the morning hours, do you roll over with a smile on your face, ready to confront the day? Or do you snooze the sound over and over again until you have no choice but to get up, or else be late for work?

For those capable of getting up and ready early in the morning, the pre-dawn workout might not be such a big deal. But for the rest of us, the thought only makes us want to snuggle deeper down into our blankets and hide away from everything — sun and all.

There seems to be this pervasive opinion in the realm of health, though, that states working out in the mornings is better than in the evenings. How true is this statement, though? Does the time of day really matter to your metabolism? To the calories you intake? Last time I checked, neither of those things could tell time.

Working Out First Thing in the Morning

As someone who has done both, working out in the morning and in the evenings, I can attest that there are pros and cons to both. After working out in the morning, I find myself better prepared mentally and emotionally to take on the day. I feel undefeatable, I feel like I might never crave unhealthy carbs again.

Breaking a sweat in the morning is also known to promote a lot of other functions, aside from mood. These include:

  1. Lowers appetite, particularly for unhealthy foods (though that might be all mental, rather than physical!). Overall, particularly in terms of breakfast, you’re less likely to overeat.
  2. Helps boost the immune system throughout the rest of the day, as all of your antibodies are wide awake and ready to fight viruses.
  3. Supplies a burst of energy that a morning shower alone could never compete with.

Whether you work from home as a writer, an artist, a stay-at-home mom or dad, or you head into the office every morning to sit at a desk and sip at coffee, there’s no hiding the fact that working out in the morning might be ideal — for some people, at least.

For me, I may feel that initial burst of motivation and productivity, but once the afternoon rolls around, I want nothing more than to turn off my computer and crawl back into bed.

​Working Out at the End of the Day

I’m only a morning person on days where something particularly exciting is happening: Christmas. Driving to the airport to hop on a plane to Hawaii. The chance to wear the new shoes I bought the night before.

As you can see, early-morning workouts are not a big part of that list.

If you’re like me, there’s no shame in saving the workouts for after work, after school, after all of your daily duties and chores are all done. In fact, for a lot of people, working out later in the afternoon/evenings is even more beneficial than doing so in the morning. Not only have you already eaten a number of meals to give you the energy you need, but your body is awake and alert, and you won’t have to phone it in because you’re still tired from the early morning alarm.

Including those, there are a number of other physical benefits to working out later in the day:

  1. Getting some blood back into your muscles after sitting at a desk all day, particularly when “sitting is the new smoking.”
  2. A chance for a better night’s sleep, as you’ll be tired after breaking a sweat on the treadmill.
  3. Savoring those few extra hours (or minutes) in bed, not needing such an early alarm!

​Compromise: Working Out While Working

​Maybe you don’t have time for either, working out in the morning or working out in the evening. Luckily, with the overall growth of the health business, there are options that allow you to get moving on your feet while still staying on the clock.

Rather than just a standing desk, full-on desk treadmills allow for gentle walks (or vigorous runs) while filling out spreadsheets or chatting up clients on the phone. Some businesses even have workout rooms in their buildings, which, for any health nut, might just be a dream come true. This allows for a quick weight set or a 15-minute elliptical session during lunch  and no worries about missing a trip to the gym before or after clocking in. Not only do these break up the monotony of the work day, but spending time in the employee exercise room can also help better build relationships between not only your and coworkers, but also your managers. No better place to discuss better desk seating on the office floor than while doing sets on the rowing machine.

Of the three options, which best suits your lifestyle? Our bodies tell us it doesn’t matter which time of day you choose, simply breaking a sweat is all you need to get healthy, stay healthy, and better your physical well-being in the long run!

About the Author:

Kelsey Morgan is a freelance writer from the Northwest US, whose writing interests range anywhere from blogging tips, pets, small business, and paranormal hauntings. When she’s not writing for the web, she’s probably drawing, snapping photographs, or snoozing with her cat. You can find more of her work on Twitter!

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