Some people have a hard time fitting exercise into their schedule until after work. What are the advantages and disadvantages of exercising at night?
For most people exercising first thing in the morning works best – to get it out of the way and ensure that it gets done. Unfortunately, sunrise workouts don’t work for everyone. Not surprisingly, some people have a hard time getting their body moving in the morning, while others exercise later in the day because of family and work obligations. What are the benefits and drawbacks of exercising at night?
Should You Exercise at Night?: The Benefits
When you exercise at night your muscles are usually more supple than they are first thing in the morning. It can be difficult to lift weights or do push-ups so early and you may have a hard time really challenging yourself. An evening workout gives you an advantage because you’re less stiff and already warmed up.
Are you always rushed in the morning? You may have more time to do a focused workout later in the day. It’s hard to concentrate on your form early in the morning when you’re watching the clock because you have to get to work on time.
Evening workouts may work well for gym rats. It’s easier finding a parking place and an empty piece of equipment if you go later in the evening – which can make a workout more pleasant.
The Disadvantages of Exercising at Night
One of the biggest problems with working out at night is it can make it makes it difficult to sleep. Levels of stress hormones like cortisol and norepinephrine rise during exercise, but drop a few hours later. If you exercise too close to bedtime, you may have a problem sleeping because your cortisol levels are still high. To avoid this, work out at least three hours before hitting the sack if at all possible.
Some people argue that exercising at night burns less fat than a morning workout on an empty stomach. Some studies support this, but, in the bigger scheme of things, it won’t make or break your exercise program. The key is to get the job done – whenever you’re able to do it. Exercising at night is better than not working out at all.
Finally, if you work out at night, there’s the risk of not exercising at all because you’re tired or otherwise unable to fit it in. It’s important to stay motivated and disciplined if you work out later in the day.
Morning or Evening?
For most people, morning workouts have some advantages, but exercising at night is better than not working out at all. The bottom line? Just do it.