Working Out In The Morning vs. Working Out At Night
There is very little evidence to support either one from a strictly caloric burn perspective. Ultimately, whether you are thinking of working out in the morning or working out at night, work out when it works best. The best time to exercise is the time you can stick to. The two largest factors in choosing a workout time as a nurse are circadian rhythm and work schedule.
Circadian rhythm is set by the rotation of the earth and is different in different people. Some are simply night owls, and some are early birds. So the time of day you work out may not affect your caloric burn, but it may affect how you feel during your workout and afterwards. With just circadian rhythm in mind, pick a time that makes you feel better when you exercise. The better you feel, the easier it will be to stick with it.
Some studies have found that working out in the morning (or working out at night, right after waking up for the night worker) produces more consistent results. When you work out determines how easy it is to build a habit and turn that habit into a behavior. Think less of working out in the morning working out at night and think more about working out right after waking up or working out later in the day. Your work schedule plays a significant role in your sleeping habits and thus your exercise habits. Just make good choices to keep the habit going.
What about working out in the morning vs. working out at night to help sleep?
Daily exercise shows definitive results for getting a better night’s sleep. It does not matter as much when you work out so much as what you work out. Working large muscle groups, specifically the core and legs, shows better results for getting that deep, restful sleep we all need.
One thing you do not want to do is work out right before bed. Give yourself about two hours of time to allow your body temperature to drop and the adrenaline and other chemicals released during exercise to flush completely out of your body. Plus, anyone who has exercised knows the feeling of getting a bit amped up following a solid workout.
What about the shift workers?
Okay, so you may have a job where you work a few nights then work a few days. This is pretty commonplace in nursing and other shift work careers. This can be problematic, and you may have to get creative. Try ignoring the clock altogether and just workout when you wake up or workout right after your shift ends. Try scheduling those important rest days at the end of a week where you are exhausted already. Perhaps trying a different type of workout at various times, such as meditative routines like yoga and running for those nights where your brain just cannot be bothered to operate at more than awake mode. Save the heavy lifting and thinking workouts for the days or days off.
This is a tricky one because all of our circumstances are so different. Get creative and stay motivated and you’ll find a way.
Ultimately, Whatever Works For You
That is the key takeaway here. Getting exercise is far more important than when you do it. Try working out in the morning a few times and try working out at night a few times. See what works for you. Changing your lifestyle to one of healthy eating and fitness is not an overnight process. It will take work, planning, determination, and also the realization that you will have setbacks. However, remember that you never fail until you quit.
Please share what you are trying, what has worked and what has not in the comments below.
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