Some people kick-start their morning with a 6 a.m. spin class. Others squeeze in a yoga session at lunchtime. And then there are those who jump onto the treadmill after a long day at the office, or go for a bike ride around the neighborhood before dinner.
But does it matter when you work out? There's conflicting evidence about whether exercising at a certain time of day brings added benefits.
One study done at Appalachian State University suggests that 7 a.m. is the best time, if you want to lower your blood pressure and get a good night's sleep. Scientists at the University of Chicago found that those who exercise at night are more likely to achieve a higher level of fitness. And experiments conducted at the University of California, Los Angeles show that the afternoon is most beneficial.
So is it a total toss-up? Or should you be checking your watch and sweating what time you, well, sweat? We checked with the following professionals for their opinions on when you should be hitting the gym.
If you’re a runner who secretly hates running, here’s some good news: Taking it down a notch or two, settling into a leisurely jog rather than an all-out run, may actually be better for your health in the long term. A new study shows what others have hinted at in the past: That jogging may be just as good, and perhaps even better, than running when it comes to how long we live.
The team from Denmark followed over 5000 people taking part in the Copenhagen City Heart Study, and tracked whether they were non-joggers, or joggers who kept a slow, moderate, or strenuous pace. The participants’ health was tracked over the next 12 years, and so was their mortality: 28 of the joggers and 128 of the non-joggers died.
So the connection was this: Joggers of mild and moderate intensity had a lower risk of death than the strenuous joggers. In fact, the lowest mortality risk was that of the mild intensity joggers. The fast-paced joggers had about the same rate of mortality as sedentary people. This suggests that there may be an upper limit to in vigorous exercise, after which the benefits fall off.