Morning exercise — does the thought of it make you want to hit the snooze button and get a few more minutes of shut-eye? Or are you an up-with-the-sun type who’s ready to hit the ground running, literally? Whether you prefer morning, mid-day, or evening exercise, you may wonder if time of day really matters when it comes to working up a healthy sweat — and burning fat. Does It? Not really. There are some known advantages of morning exercise, but overall, what matters most is that you exercise regularly, no matter what time of day. Consider these research tidbits:
- Sleep quality. Preliminary results from a small study looked at how 7:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m., and 7:00 p.m. workouts affect sleep quality. Morning exercisers spent 75% more time in deep sleep and 85% more time in light sleep than those working out later in the day.
- Mood. Another study found that a single bout of aerobic exercise can elevate mood for up to 12 hours. While morning exercise offers the chance to enjoy an all-day mood boost, time of day doesn’t appear to make a difference; you can still get a pleasant buzz no matter when you work out.
- Fat-burning. We used to think that exercising on an empty stomach would boost fat-burning; but a recent review of the research found that whether you eat or not before your workout, you’ll burn about the same amount of fat. After fasting all night, you’ll need a small snack — like a piece of fruit, a nutrition bar or a smoothie — before a morning workout to perform at your best.
- ACSM In the News, For Best Sleep, Work Up a Sweat in the Morning, 2011
- ACSM In the News, Boost Your Mood at Least Half the Day with Physical Activity, 2011
- Schoenfeld, Brad MS, CSCS, Does Cardio After an Overnight Fast Maximize Fat Loss? Strength & Conditioning Journal: February 2011 – Volume 33 – Issue 1 – pp 23-25; doi: 10.1519/SSC.0b013e31820396ec