Adds Collier: “If we can find the best time to exercise and get good sleep, we can prevent the likelihood of people going from a pre-hypertension to hypertension state.”
While morning exercisers can reap these rewards, along with a greater likelihood of sticking to their workouts, afternoon exercise comes with its own physical and psychological benefits, too.
One small study found that afternoon exercise boosts workout performance. Researchers analyzed a group of cyclists who worked out at 6 a.m. or 6 p.m. and found that the evening exercises had higher power outputs. They theorized that the more complex the movements required to perform the exercise are, the more that the time of day can impact the performance. In other words, you may perform better in the afternoon if you’re swimming, running or biking versus something simple like walking.
We may even be less prone to injury if we hit the gym or the pavement later in the day. That’s because our core body temperatures are higher at that time, making our muscles and joints more adaptable to exercise. But rolling out of bed for a workout doesn’t mean you’re doomed for injury, notes Felicia Stoler, an exercise physiologist and author of Living Skinny in Fat Genes: The Healthy Way to Lose Weight and Feel Great.
“Morning exercisers will only get injuries if they don’t do something to warm up first,” says Stoler. But that doesn’t mean stretching, which Stoler says can lead to injuries when your muscles aren't warmed up. Instead, she suggests opting for a brisk walk, light jog or jumping jacks.