Have you tried getting up early to hit the gym first thing, but you just can’t resist hitting that snooze button? There are plenty of benefits to working out in the morning. If you can’t make it happen, though, there are also benefits to working out closer to the end of the day. Here’s how exercising at night might benefit your mental and physical health.
RELIEVE THE DAY’S STRESS
Exercise increases production of endorphins and decreases stress hormone levels. Many of your less favorable evening habits (lounging, lazy dinners, junk food) are probably stress-related. It’s understandable, after a long day. You can use exercise to relieve that stress, though, instead of trying to “relax” it off. There’s nothing wrong with resting. Working out is just a more productive stress-reliever.
What does working out at night have to do with food? Possibly everything, especially if you’re prone to over-indulging on empty calories after a long day. You could come home, collapse on the couch with a bag of potato chips and give in to frozen pizza (again) out of exhaustion. Or you could head to the gym, get a good workout in, completely block those junk food cravings and eat a healthy late-night meal after the fact. Your choice.
TAKE YOUR TIME EXERCISING
When you work out first thing in the morning, time isn’t always on your side. More often than not, you have somewhere to be afterward – which can make you feel rushed. The last thing you want to do is plow through your workout worried about getting someplace on time: that takes all the fun out of it. If you leave your workout until the very end of the day, you can take your time, do it right and actually enjoy your exercise.
Working out at night isn’t necessarily “better” than working out in the morning. It all depends on what works best for you and your schedule. However, if you’re really not a morning person – some people actually aren’t, biologically – working out toward the end of the day might be your best option. There aren’t any proven downsides, really. If the benefits outweigh the risks, physically and mentally, it’s worth a try.