What’s the Optimal Time for a Workout or Hike?

Everybody who manages to get a decent workout into their day most days should be feeling good about it, whatever time of day they get it done! But many people wonder whether, if you have room to tweak your schedule, there’s a better, more productive time to do it. 

As it turns out, there are many answers, starting with personal preference, work and family schedule — and, location, location, location. 

If you’re exercising outside, you’ll have to take the climate into account. Greater Prescott’s temps generally peak in the 90s in July and August so approach midday workouts with caution. In colder months, be aware of wet or icy conditions after it rains or snows.

When weather isn’t a limiting factor, every time of day has its own pluses and minuses:

Morning — There usually are fewer distractions early in the day; it’s a good energy boost to kick off your day. Studies show more people tend to stick with a morning exercise routine. However, your temperature and energy are normally near its lowest levels in the morning, and cold, stiff muscles are more prone to injury.

Lunch — A brisk walk or workout in the middle of the day increases blood flow to the brain and makes you sharper for the afternoon, and a workout can cut your appetite for snacks and a large dinner. But work and school schedules can make finding time at midday difficult at best.

Late afternoon — Exercise after work can be a great way to burn off the stress that’s built up over the course of the day, and this is when your metabolism, energy, flexibility and performance tend to peak, which make for more intense workouts. But if you have to work late very often or have other commitments, this can be a difficult time to stay on track.

Evening — This is the easiest way for some people to find time, but remember to take extra safety precautions if you’re working out in the dark. Experts recommend not exercising the last one to three hours before going to bed to get a good night’s sleep.

Photo by Blushing Cactus Photography