January 14, 2019

Does It Matter (to Your Heart or Otherwise) What Time of Day You Exercise?

The short answer from an interventional cardiologist

Woman exercising at dawn or dusk

Q: I’m committed to following my doctor’s advice and exercising regularly. Does it matter what time of day I exercise? Is there a best time?

Advertisement

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy

A: Depending on your exercise goals, there may be specific benefits to working out at a particular time of day.

Exercising in the morning may be associated with lower blood pressure, better sleep and greater weight loss, due to improved fat burning and appetite suppression. Studies also suggest that people tend to be more consistent with morning exercise, due to fewer distractions that are likely to
interrupt their routines later in the day.

On the other hand, afternoon or evening exercise is associated with peaks in body temperature and flexibility and appears to be better at improving aerobic performance and strength.

But for most of us who want to exercise for general health effects, the best time is the time that works best and allows you to perform it regularly.

Advertisement

The American Heart Association recommends a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity, or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise, a week in divided sessions. Adding resistance training three times a week can further benefit you.

Many variables contribute to a successful exercise program, including time of day, location, type of activity and social setting. However, consistency is the most important variable and is most strongly linked to achieving positive results.

If you’re a morning person, then a morning workout is likely best. If you’re a night owl, exercising later in the day may be a perfect way to unwind and release stress. For most of us, it is probably best to avoid exercising just before bedtime, since it may interfere with your ability to go to sleep.

In short, the best time to exercise is when you have the most energy and motivation to do it. Regardless of why you exercise, pick the time that works best for you and stick with it.

Advertisement

— Interventional cardiologist Leslie Cho, MD

Related Articles

female doing a push up while looking at laptop
February 20, 2024
Here’s How To Do a Good, Basic Push-up

The exercise — which you’ve probably been doing since grade school — can be intimidating, but proper form can help

two people doing jumping jacks on pavement outside
February 19, 2024
How Exercise Can Help Boost Your Memory

Cardio is great for improving cognition, but strength and balance training are just as important

Adult male using rowing machine at gym
February 16, 2024
Why Exercise Matters for Your Heart Health

Exercise lowers risk for heart conditions, improves mental health and reduces visceral fat that can compromise your organs

Parent and two children preforming downward dog in yoga
February 13, 2024
Yoga for Kids: Benefits and 17 Poses and Exercises To Get Started

Kids’ yoga can help kiddos become more aware of their physical, mental and emotional selves

Close up of hands holding heart rate wearable watch monitor and their phone
February 12, 2024
Next Time You Exercise, Consider Wearing a Heart Rate Monitor

This technology can benefit your workouts by helping you hit your target heart rate, resulting in better overall health and wellness

personal trainer working with person on treadmill at gym
February 9, 2024
How To Find a Personal Trainer — What To Look For

Ask questions, get referrals and consider if someone is a good fit for you and your fitness goals

person doing stair lunges at home
January 25, 2024
Workout Motivation: Do’s and Don’ts To Help You Actually Stick to Your New Exercise Routine

Expect a few bumps in the road, work out for the right reasons and give yourself some credit

Person jumping rope on a bridge
January 16, 2024
Hop to It: 6 Benefits of Jumping Rope

Jump into the swing of things to improve your coordination, burn calories and get your heart rate going

Trending Topics

close up of keto gummies
Do Keto Gummies Work for Weight Loss? Are They Safe?

Research is inconclusive whether or not these supplements are helpful

Person in yellow tshirt and blue jeans relaxing on green couch in living room reading texts on their phone.
Here’s How Many Calories You Naturally Burn in a Day

Your metabolism may torch 1,300 to 2,000 calories daily with no activity

Older person postioned sideways showing dowager hump.
Dowager’s Hump: What It Is and How To Get Rid of It

The hump at the base of your neck may be caused by osteoporosis or poor posture

Ad