If you have read my previous article on the benefits of morning workouts and thought to yourself – “this sounds great but realistically there is no way I can make that happen,” you are likely not alone. Like mentioned, the most important part of an exercise routine is finding a time that best fits it into your schedule. This is going to be different for everyone, and even different throughout the seasons of your life. What works now may not work a month or a year from now and that is completely fine. For those who have the time or even preference, to work out in the evening, there are benefits for you, too!
Mornings are hard as it is, and waking up earlier than you have to does not make it easier. A work week can be long and exhausting, so any extra sleep you can get can make a huge difference later in the day. Your morning is more relaxed knowing that you don’t have to rush to shower, pack a gym bag, or an extra set of clothes. You also can avoid showering at the gym if you would not have time to stop back home before a meeting or early class.
Whether you walk up 3 flights of stairs each morning, bike to class, or even just walk to the coffee maker in the office, you are warming up your body and activating your muscles throughout the day. Some studies show that you naturally have more energy in the middle of the day, between 2 to 6 pm. This will help set you up for a more energized workout in the evening, and can even prevent injuries from stiff muscles.
We hear about the mental benefits of exercise being just as valuable as the physical benefits. Exercising after a long day of working with clients or classwork can provide an easy outlet to blow off steam. Life can be tough, and your body needs healthy ways to release built up emotions. Getting in a quick run on the treadmill is a much healthier coping technique than uncorking a bottle of wine to ease the stress.
If you have risen before the sun and gotten to the gym, you may have noticed how many other people had the same intentions as you did to get the exercise out of the way early in the morning. While it may make you feel better about your decision to leave your bed, the crowded treadmills and lack of available free weights may not. Gyms are typically less crowded in the evening, as morning workouts are more popular. Enjoy the machine of your choosing without having someone lingering behind you waiting for you to wipe it down and move on.
No matter what time of day works best for your workout, the important thing is that you are being intentional about staying active for your health. So long as you give it your all during your workout, the benefits of the time of day that you go to the gym are similar.