When is the Ideal Time to Work Out?

Sports Medicine Fitness Center staff weigh in on the ideal time to fit in your daily workout.






I'm not a morning person, so chances are that if my alarm goes off for an early morning workout, I will press the snooze button several times and end up having to cut my work out short. I like finding time around the lunch hour or in the afternoon to fit in a work out. I’m more motivated mentally and physically at that time and my afternoon workouts energize me for the rest of the day so that I don’t start fading at work!






The best time of day for me to work out is morning.  While I am not a “morning person” per se … if I don’t get up and get it done my day often gets away from me.  My schedule is busy and I spend my day in meetings and managing people – not a lot of movement.  I have come to learn that if I wait I just don’t exercise and that is a disservice to me.  I need my regular workouts to have the energy and stress release that makes my life more enjoyable and creates the space I need to stay healthy and have fun.  






I am not a morning person. My body does not move well in the morning and my exercise in general just becomes a long warm-up. I prefer to exercise at night. Many years ago in college I would love to go out for a long run at 8 or 9 pm… or maybe that was just study procrastination! Even now, 7or 8 pm is when I prefer to go out for a run or walk or roll out my yoga mat.




Having a chronic medical issue (MS) choosing when to exercise is an important decision.  For me, exercising in the morning – generally the first thing in my day – works the best.  I have worked with dozens of clients with chronic medical issues and have always emphasized to them that many of us have a limited amount of energy to expend throughout the day.  However, expending a portion of this energy on exercise is a great investment since a more physically fit (increased cardiovascular fitness, increased muscular strength and endurance) person will have a greater energy reserve to begin with.  And he/she will likely sleep better too (again improving available energy).  The psychological benefits (reduced stress, a more optimistic attitude, etc.) are as, if not more, valuable to me personally.


I encourage individuals (especially those new to regular exercise) to experiment with what time they exercise.  Exercise should always compliment your life – make it better, not take it over.  For me, my energy to exercise at an appropriate intensity and my ability to recover and function well during the remainder of my day is optimized when I exercise in the morning.






I work out when it fits best in my schedule or if I’m doing a workout with someone. I can go early morning, mid-day, evening, whenever I know I can get it in, when the weather will be the best of the day, or if I can get to a class of one of my favorite instructors! I just make it happen.



As you can see, the ideal work out time really depends on the individual. Our best advice? Pay attention to your own personal daily rhythm. Schedule in your workouts (yes, SCHEDULE them. Make them a priority!) at a time when you are the most motivated physically and mentally. By choosing a time of day that works well for your mind, body, and busy calendar, you will be more likely to be consistent with your workouts and reach your fitness goals.


We want to know: When is YOUR ideal time to work out? Share your daily workout habits and strategies to stay motivated on our Facebook page.



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Date Published: 12/14/2015

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