Animation by Health chronicle explaining why evening workouts are not as healthy as we imagine them to be and what time workouts are best for our health.
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What Time Should You Ideally Go to the Gym?
So, you made it to the gym last night, dragging yourself to the elliptical just after work. You even managed to do a little strength training, and you’re feeling pretty great about yourself. As you should! Exercise is essential to a life well-lived, and can even increase your life span – but you might want to rethink the time you go to the gym every day to benefit from all those hours sweating like a squeezed lemon.
There are a couple reasons why evening gym workouts may not be the most ideal:
1. Putting your workout at the end of the day will risk your consistency in exercise. How many times have you lugged your gym bag to work, or planned to meet friends at the swimming pool or tennis court at the end of the day only to be met by a subterfuge of life’s demands. Your kids forget to tell you about a homework project they have to turn in the next day until you pick them up from school, the boss asks you to work late – you get the idea. Your best intentions to stay active are met with other demands which you can’t ignore, and so you don’t work out at all.
2. Getting your workout in late in the day can cause an endorphin high that will interrupt your natural sleep cycles. It may seem counter intuitive when all you want to do is hit the snooze button and sleep in an extra 30 minutes in the morning, but the endorphin rush, and extra energy that you get from a good workout would be better put to use at the beginning of your day, and to sustain you through it, rather than at the end of the day when you need to be hitting the sheets instead of a kickboxing bag.
3. The gym is busiest in the evenings. Just like you, most people are lucky to make it to the gym at all, if they get there after a long day at work. This also means that it will be crowded. Your favorite Zumba class might be packed like a sardine can, and that one ab machine you’ve been dying to finally try has a line developing as if you were trying to get into a hot club in the middle of New York City’s Soho. Besides, do you really want to lay in everyone else’s sweat when those machines finally free up? Gross.
4. Stress relief. Though you’ll be able to shrug off a tedious day when you work out at the end of your day, the stress-relief benefits that come from exercising work whenever you work out. If you want to better handle the stress of your day from start to finish, try working out in the morning after a healthy breakfast and a good night’s sleep. You’ll be able to handle all the nutzo requests your job demands of you, or that interminably long carpool lane. Instead of relieving your stress once its already built up all day long, you’ll better handle stressful events as they crop up.
5. Motivation for additional healthy lifestyle choices are another benefit of an early AM workout. Knowing you’re planning on hitting the gym first thing in the morning you’ll be more likely to want to go to sleep earlier, which is also better for your health.