i. When Should I Exercise?

When Should I Exercise?

Mar 28, 2011 by Sally Symonds (Natural Therapies Pages)

Many people wonder what is the “best” time for them to exercise?  While every individual varies in terms of both their physical, practical and psychological preferences for training, there is a plethora of evidence to support afternoons as the most effective time to train.

Various studies have found that aerobic training is more effective in the afternoons , strength training in the afternoon results in greater lean muscle mass adaptation , swimmers perform better and are more alert and powerful in the afternoon  and cyclists have more effective muscle activation patterns in the afternoons (thus suggesting better performances in the afternoons as well).

Furthermore, the potential for dehydration has also found to be greater in the morning.  Having said all that, I still prefer to train in the mornings because I know that if I leave it until the afternoon I’m much less likely to end up actually doing it.

Many people spend time wondering what is the “best” way to do something instead of actually just taking the plunge.  I am constantly bombarded by people who suffer from this kind of  “analysis paralysis”.  The best time for you to exercise is the time is easiest for you to exercise consistently.  When should you exercise?  Whenever you can!


  • Torii, J., Shinkai, S., Hino, S., Kurokawa, Y., Tomita, N., Hirose, M., Watanabe, Shuichiro, Watanabe, Seiichiro, & Watanabe, T. (1992). Effect of time of day on adaptive response to a 4-week aerobic exercise program. Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness, 31, 348-352.
  • Scheett, T.P. Effect of training time of day on body composition, muscular strength and endurance. (2005).National Strength and Conditioning Associations Annual Meeting, Las Vegas.
  • Rodahl, A., O’Brien, M., & Firth, P. G. (1976). Diurnal variation in performance of competitive swimmers. Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness, 16, 72-76.
  • Sesboue, B., Bessot, N., Moussay, S., Gauthier, A., Larue, J., & Davenne, D. (2003). Diurnal variation in cycling kinematics. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 35(5), Supplement abstract 80.

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