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Exercising in the afternoon is the best time for optimal results

At about 3 p.m. some of your hormone levels peak, making this an optimal time period for weight loss. Also, the late afternoon is a good time to achieve high performance. At this time, flexibility, strength, endurance, and the ability to handle pain are at their highest. Working out at this time may also improve your sleep patterns. Just a half-hour of exercise will help you go to sleep faster and more soundly. However, try to leave at least two hours between your workout and your bedtime. Exercise right before bed can keep you awake and start a damaging cycle of exhaustion.

Depending on your needs and goals, the morning can also be a good time for exercise. It can have an energizing effect by increasing your heartbeat and your alertness. Another plus-air pollution levels are typically at their daily low in the morning. Note however, that you should take extra time to warm up muscles and stretch in order to prevent injury.

In the end, though, the best time to exercise is the time that is most conducive to you sticking with an exercise schedule. Ultimately, being active is more important than the time of day.

Tue. Jan 16, 11:57am

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It has been my experience that any time you exercise is the "best time."

Tuesday, January 16, 2007, 3:31 PM

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for me it's in the early morning. each person will have a different "best time" depending on their lifestyle, job requirements, family obligations, etc. the OP's posting as a fact that afternoon is best is deceiving and plain wrong, in my opinion.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007, 3:39 PM

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I find, in terms of performance (if I'm timing my run and really trying for a PR, for instance) that afternoon IS the best time. Makes me wonder why races are always in the morning.

But in terms of just getting out and doing it, putting in the miles and not competing, before work and after work are a lot better, lol!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007, 3:42 PM

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If 3pm is "peak performance" time, then why is that the most popular time for the folks in my office to scramble for coffee and sugary things to wake them up and get them through the rest of the afternoon? I'm not buying this.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007, 3:44 PM

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I am not the original poster, but I have a career in the athletic field and scientifically this IS when your body is at its optimal performance level.

This does NOT mean that this is the best time for everyone to workout, but it does mean that you are more likely to do better at a mile run at 3pm than at 5am.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007, 4:59 PM

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as a pastry chef, my working hours were 3am to 11 am. as a chef, my hours were 10 am to 8 pm. it seems clear that my optimal performance time would change between these kinds of working hours. am i to understand that no matter what time a person gets up, and regardless of their activities, that 3 pm is still better than 5 am? it makes no sense. this may be true when applied to a specific group of people who have relatively the same lifestyle and keep basically the same hours, but no way is this believable without referring to a set group of people. it's way too general and i see no evidence of anything scientifically researched.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007, 9:27 AM

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so if i live on the east coast and 3 pm is the best time for me to exercise and then i move to the west coast, do i still exercise at 3 pm east-coast-time or adjust my schedule for 3 pm west-coast-time? silly.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007, 9:29 AM

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that is a good question. any answer?

Wednesday, January 17, 2007, 4:09 PM

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Some people clearly like arguing for the sake of it.

The OP's post is interesting. Obviously 3pm applies to someone who wakes up at a "normal" time.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007, 4:47 PM

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what is a normal time? 6am? 8am? interesting, maybe. accurate, no.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007, 4:55 PM

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It's mostly dependent on your circadian rythym. So, if you exercise at 3:00 east coast time, then fly to the West coast for a day, exercising at noon on that day would be about the same. Jet lag applies -- if you waited until 3:00 your body would think it was dinnertime and you'd be hungry!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007, 4:58 PM

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4:59 Poster Again

This is actually extensively researched data. Some of you may think it is silly but many coaches use this information when trying to schedule competitions for their athletes (if it is in their control). It is also used so that coaches and athletes can know and cater to their best level of performance. This information is pretty much useless to the average population but to elite athletes this knowledge is critical, and used very often.

You can think this is bogus all you want, but if you have an elite athlete run a 100yd sprint at 5am on any random day and then have them run the same distance at 3pm on another random day. The athlete will perform better at 3pm about 90% of the time. And the other 10% has more to do with what he/she did the day before than the actual time.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007, 6:35 PM

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OP here

Thanks 6:35 Poster!!!! I didn't realize I was going to get criticized for my post. This wasn't my opinion....but taken from an article that I read on the Internet. I wish I could exercise at 3pm, however, I only have the motivation and the time before work at 6am. Just thought the article was interesting and wanted to share.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007, 7:18 PM

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it might be helpful to other readers if, when posting an excerpt from an article, the poster mentions that and maybe even the source article's name. this way, people who are curious about the topic but want more information about the origin of the post can reference it themselves.

Thursday, January 18, 2007, 9:11 AM

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best time to run

best time to run for me is always in the evening. It helps me de stress and anyone who tends to do things in the evening that they shouldn't will benefit from this.

Thursday, August 23, 2007, 10:37 AM

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regardless of whose expert advice this is or who works in the athletics field and can attest to this being true, the fact is that there is research to back every opinion up, no?

for those of us trying to lose weight/maintain fitness, whatever time you can workout and feel good, that is the best time.

Thursday, August 23, 2007, 10:55 AM

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ridiculous. 3:00pm whose time? i might believe that the best time to exercise is about 6-7 hours after waking and being up and a bit active, but to specify a time? ridiculous.

OP: i didn't get that people were criticising you, the disbelief seems to be aimed at the information you linked to. if it was directed at you, people would have called you naive or silly or something like that. the majority of repsonders to this thread just don't buy the data that are presented as fact.

Thursday, August 23, 2007, 11:01 AM

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body temperature has been shown to have an effect on when your body responds best to exercise. apparently, an average person has their lowest body temperature a few hours before they wake. based on the average person (ethnicity, age, gender and place of residence aren't mentioned, so i wonder who they are grouping together to determine the average), it has been pointed out by several research studies that in the middle of the day (or around 3pm), the body temperature has risen to its highest, thus providing the most benefits from the same exercise that one might engage in at another time of day but receive less benefits. but that assumes a lot. many people work evening/graveyard shifts and keep different sleeping hours. and a person who is up throughout the night, dealing with a sick child or new baby or faulty smoke alarm or whatever, will have fluctuating body temps. and many people sleep "in". so, basically, the information linked to may be true for the average person from a specific, select group of individuals with the same, regular sleeping habits, but for them and them alone.

Thursday, August 23, 2007, 11:19 AM

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here's a link to a pdf file about body temp and how to determine your personal circadian peak in temp.


Thursday, August 23, 2007, 11:21 AM

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The whole working out in the evening is a killer for me. I work out from 10 - 11, and then i'm not able to get to bed until 1 because i am not tired at all. This has turned in a cycle of exhaustion! All i want is to sleep, and my eyes are slowly trying to close constantly!

I wish i could work out at 3pm, or even in the morning!

Thursday, August 23, 2007, 11:35 AM

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seems obvious that this only applies to a select group of people. would anyone be persuaded to change based on this article???

Friday, August 24, 2007, 1:37 PM

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I find that I have an energy slump around 2-3 PM and when I do exercise at this time it is more difficult to stick it out. Personally I find mid to late morning (10am is perfect) to be best. To each her own. The bottom line is JUST DO IT!!

Monday, September 03, 2007, 9:14 AM

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