1. Health
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Discuss in my forum

The Best Time of Day to Walk and Exercise


Updated June 26, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Women Walking with Water Bottles in Hand
© Terry Vine / Brand X Pictures / Getty

Is there a best time of day to walk?

Research on lung function, body rhythms, temperature, and hormone levels says one thing -- to exercise around 6 p.m.

Surveys on exercise habits say another -- to exercise in the morning before other commitments distract you, or during the day when you have a free period of time. Let's explore the pros and cons of when to exercise.


• The majority of people who exercise consistently do so early in the day. It is easier to form the exercise habit through morning exercise.
• A study found reduced attraction to photos of food after a 45-minute brisk morning walk, and more activity throughout the rest of the day.
• Fewer distractions and schedule interruptions.
• Can make time for exercise by getting up a bit earlier.
• Raises your heart rate and metabolism to burn more calories earlier in the day.
• Gives a feeling of physical energy for hours.
• Improves your mental acuity for hours.
• Cooler temperatures in summer.
• Lowest air pollution levels in the morning.
• Body adjusts to your exercise time, so if you are training for a morning walking event, train in the morning.

• Body temperature is at its lowest 1 to 3 hours before awakening, making morning a time of naturally lower energy and blood flow.
• Cold, stiff muscles may be more prone to injury. Be sure to warm up well before doing a higher speed workout, and do gentle stretching.
• If you do not enjoy morning exercise, you won't easily form a walking habit by choosing a morning workout time.
• Because body temperature and hormones are higher in late afternoon, you probably get the same or better calorie-burning effects later in the day.

Next page> Noon-Time and Break-Time | Afternoon and After-Work | Evening

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.

We comply with the HONcode standard
for trustworthy health
information: verify here.