Despite the many arguments that support getting your workout done first thing in the morning, there are also a handful of good reasons why you might want to wait until the end of the day.
According to John Rowley, a nationally-recognized fitness expert and best-selling author of Old School New Body, the benefits of working out in the evening include a chance to calm your mind and muscles, a less crowded gym, the absence of feeling rushed and yes even the possibility of getting a better night’s sleep.
“When you go to the gym at the end of the day you have much more time to do all of the workouts you want at the pace you want,” he said. “When you are working with time constraints or have to be somewhere afterwards your mind is focusing on other things. Going to the gym should help you release stress, not build it up.”
Maybe you’re wondering “But won’t working out later at night make it harder for me to fall asleep when I get home?”
For some people this might be true, but ultimately it depends on the type of workout that you do. If working out at night after you’ve wrapped up the rest of your day is more convenient for you, there are a few things you can do to make sure that your late night gym session won’t keep you up past your bedtime.
“When you get to the gym turn your phone on airplane mode or the do not disturb session, Rowley advises. “Use this time to let your mind relax and focus on you. At the end of your workout do some stretching or try an easy yoga sequence.”
He said that stretching afterwards will help your body to unwind and make it so that your muscles are less tense the next day.
What type of workout you choose to do should be dependent upon your goals. However, you might find that less intense forms of exercise like weight lifting or moderately paced cardio are most suitable. You know your body best, though, so aim to plan your workouts based on what works best for you.
“Generally, start with a quick cardio warm-up to ease digestion and warm up your muscles,” Rowley said. “Continue with the rest of your workout routine and end with a 5 to 10 minute stretching session or meditation.”
And if you still don’t feel rested when you’re finished and it’s time for bed, Rowley suggests relaxing with a cup of hot tea or hot water with lemon.