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Does it matter what time of day you exercise?

Jogging photo

I am about as opposite of morning person as one can get.

So when I lost a bet to a friend and started going to 5:15 a.m. exercise classes with him, it was a struggle.

I was always under the impression that working out in the morning was better than the evenings because you burned more calories since you hadn’t eaten anything yet. After a few early mornings I found myself believing that working out in the morning was better. However, I wasn’t completely sold on the idea, so I turned to someone who would know: Dr. Kyle Goerl with Via Christi Sports Medicine.

“Deciding when to exercise during the day should be based more on convenience, so that you can reliably ensure that it gets done," Dr. Goerl says. "No one can argue the benefits of exercise for our health.

"There are arguments made that our bodies are better warmed up later in the day and that could benefit the workout, others claim to sleep and eat better if they work out in the morning, and others claim that working out later at night could disrupt sleep. There is merit in all of these arguments and case can be made to exercise at any time of day.”

It turns out that I could sleep in and get the same benefit. 

“I counsel my patients to get 150 minutes of moderate to intense exercise per week, including 1 to 2 days of resistance training," Dr. Goerl says. "You should do something that you enjoy, as you are more likely to do it, and you should do it when it is convenient for you."