Your Workouts Might Be a Waste If You’re Exercising at the Wrong Time of Day

gymI don't know about you, but it's not the ticking of my biological clock that haunts my dreams, it's my circadian clock. You know, the body's complex internal timer that somehow controls our entire phyiscal and mental well-being BUT is extremely easy to screw up? By sleeping in or getting up early or staying up late or going to bed early or breathing, it seems?! Well, turns out there's yet another way you're probably maybe messing with your circadian clock. According to a recent study, the best time to exercise is in the afternoon, because early morning and late night workouts set your circadian alarm right off, and that's a bad thing (assuming you don't particularly feel like increasing your risk for "diabetes, obesity, certain types of cancer, memory loss and mood disorders, including depression.")

Granted, this theory is currently based on animal research, but I believe it. Based on my own personal ill-timed exercise experiences.


Truth be told, my current workout schedule has dwindled down to "occasionally o'clock." But I used to be more diligent about finding ways to fit regular exercise into my schedule, and even then, my options were pretty much either a.) early morning before work or b.) evenings after work. Neither one was ideal.

Early morning workouts were great at first: Woo-hoo! I'm all pumped for the day and it's only 8 a.m.! I'm so AWAKE! Except by noon, my body felt like it was 4 p.m. (By 4 p.m., I was sleepwalking.)

Evening workouts were also great at first: Woo-hoo! I got to sleep in an hour later in the morning! Except I was really tired when I got to the gym and really pumped when I left the gym, so I couldn't fall asleep until it was super late.

Whereas afternoon workouts, whenever I've been able to squeeze them in, always make me feel better all-around. The only problem is, how many of us actually have time to exercise smack in the middle of a weekday afternoon? 

When do you workout? What time of day would you exercise if you could?


Image via JBLM MWR/Flickr

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