It’s the great debate. When should you workout? In the morning or at night? Well, we are firm believers in that as long as it gets done, it doesn’t really matter. However, studies are now showing that thanks to exercise’s ability to release endorphins and, in essence, make you happier, it might be more beneficial to start your day with exercise instead of end it.
First, let’s get to the facts surrounding this. If you workout you have most likely experienced this before. While the workout may have been grueling, the feeling afterwards is incomparable. As time progresses we notice how we build muscle and endurance, in addition to noticing improved mood and brain function. Well, it’s not all in your head.
Of course, everyone knows about this “endorphin release” but what does that really mean? When you exercise, your mind actually recognizes this as a moment of stress. To protect itself, it then releases a protein called BDNF (Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor) that is protective and reparative, almost resetting your brain for the day to be clearer, calmer, and (naturally) happier. At the same time, endorphins (which cause happiness) are also released, packing a 1-2 punch making you forget about discomfort and think positively.
So, what does this mean about what time you should really be working out? A recent study from Penn State found that to be more productive and happier in work or life it was necessary to workout that very morning.
“Those who had exercised during the preceding month but not on the day of testing generally did better on the memory test than those who had been sedentary, but did not perform nearly as well as those who had worked out that morning.”
If you can’t tell your left foot from your right that early in the AM, not to fret. It’s not necessary to complete a full workout in the morning for the full benefits. Gretchen Reynolds of The First 20 Minutes, explains that it really only take 20 minutes of being active first thing in the morning or before attending any responsibilities to feel more centered and productive.
Some advice? We would suggest splitting up your work out between morning and night. Getting a quick cardio session in the morning will wake you up and prepare you for conquering your day. Why not try a quick Tabata workout? Conversely, getting your weight training, yoga session, or anything else in at night will cap off your day perfectly. Already working out in the morning? Then you’re on the right track!
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