When is the best time of day to work out?

runner on stairs at sunset or sunrise

Trying to find the best time for exercise? The truth is, it’s personal! Follow these tips to figure out what fitness routine works best for you.

Dawn, dusk or dead of night— when’s the best time to work out? Well, that depends on when’s the best time for you, because the benefits of physical activity depend upon how consistent you are.

You might have heard that the best time to exercise is early in the morning — to get your metabolism going or to avoid unexpected distractions during the day that could derail your workout. But if you’re not a morning person, it may not work for you to try to get up at dawn to work out. The key is to do what’s most likely to work for you consistently.

If your schedule isn’t predictable, you may need to be flexible and have a plan for various times of day.

If you find that working out too late in the evening keeps you from falling asleep easily, shift your exercise session earlier in the day or try less intense, more mindful forms of movement.

What May be More Important than When

To stay motivated, choose activities you enjoy. If you’re a social person, do something that engages you socially. Take a group exercise class, join a recreational team or walk with a group of friends. If you prefer having time alone, walking, swimming or biking solo might be a better fit for you. If you’d like to spend more time with your family, find an activity you can all do together, like an after-dinner walk or game of soccer.

There are so many choices; don’t limit yourself to just one. Having a variety of fitness activities to choose from may keep you from getting bored or burned out.

Here are some activities you can do any time of day:

  • Walking, running and jogging
  • Swimming
  • Biking
  • Dancing and aerobics
  • Climbing stairs
  • Playing sports
  • Strength training and weights
  • Yoga and Pilates
  • Boxing and kickboxing
  • Martial arts and Tai Chi

There’s no one right time of day to get moving. So do it at the time that’s right for you.