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The Best Time of Day to Walk and Exercise - Evening Pros and Cons

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Updated September 14, 2013

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

Night Walking Legs

Night Walking Legs

Wendy Bumgardner © 2010
Pros:
• For most people, body temperature and hormone levels peak at 6 p.m. Exercising 3 hours before or after the peak will give your your best workout for both endurance and building muscle.
• Muscles are warm and flexible.
• Perceived exertion is low -- how hard you feel yourself to be working at exercise. So you may be able to work out harder or faster.
• Can help regulate the amount of food you feel like eating for dinner.
• Stress relief after a day at work, school, or home.

Cons:
• Distractions and other commitments make keep you from walking and exercising at the appointed times.
• Need to allow one to three hours to wind down after walking or exercise to be able to fall asleep.
• If you discover sleeping problems, need to schedule your workout earlier.
• At dark times of the year, be sure to wear reflective gear.

The Very Best Time

The very best time to walk? Walking can only do you good if you do it. The best time to walk is the time that will fit best into your schedule so you can do it consistently. Experts agree -- it is not the time of day that matters as much as finding the time you can set aside consistently for your workouts.

Morning | Noon and Break Times | Afternoon and After-Work

Sources:

Medarov, B.I. "Hour-to-hour variation of FEV1/FVC" CHEST.2004;126(4_MeetingAbstracts):744S-b-745S.

Benloucif S, Orbeta L, Ortiz R, Janssen I, Finkel SI, Bleiberg J, Zee PC. "Morning or evening activity improves neuropsychological performance and subjective sleep quality in older adults" Sleep. 2004 Dec 15;27(8):1542-51.

Hanlon B, Larson MJ, Bailey BW, Lecheminant JD. "Neural Response to Pictures of Food after Exercise in Normal-Weight and Obese Women." Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2012 May 22. [Epub ahead of print]

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