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The Best Time of Day to Exercise to Lose Weight

By Christine Dagnelli ; Updated July 18, 2017

The best time of day to exercise to lose weight is whatever time you can commit. Establishing a routine is important for keeping yourself organized, less stressed and accountable. Routines are also essential for establishing change. The more you exercise, the better you will feel and the more calories you burn. Exercise is still the most effective way to lose weight.


Exercising to lose weight can occur anytime of the day. Some prefer to get it out of the way first thing in the morning. Others like to walk during their lunch hour or exercise in the afternoon. Some people exercise at the gym after work, or take part in amateur sports in the evenings. The timing of your meals is the most important part of your fitness program. What you eat, and when, affects your exercise performance.


Morning workouts get your blood pumping and muscles working early in the day, which may lead to more positive choices and feeling better throughout the day. It's also a consistent time, if it is the first thing you do every day. This begins your daily routine, since you wake up every day. There isn't any scientific proof yet stating morning workouts lead to more burned calories.

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Time Frame

Exercising after work or school has several advantages. You can de-stress from your day. It is also a consistent time that becomes part of your routine because you always do it after work or school. The more consistent you are with exercise, the more weight you will lose. There are disadvantages. If you work late and are exercising too close to your bedtime, your body will take longer to fall asleep. Trading sleep for exercise is not beneficial, and does not result in weight-loss.

Expert Insight

If you feel better exercising in the middle of the day, this time is efficient for losing weight. This is because your body is more awake. The Research Institute for Sport and Exercise Sciences, at John Moores University in Liverpool, United Kingdom, conducted a study to determine the best time of day to exercise. The study involved football and soccer players who utilize cardiovascular exercise for hours on the field. They determined peak performance of reaction time and aerobic capacity occurred between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.


Remember the rule your mom made about no swimming after a meal? This is because blood is going to your digestive tract as opposed to the muscles it needs to fuel. She may have been misinformed thinking your arms would fail to work. However she was correct in the competition for the body's resources. Gerald Endress, exercise physiologist and director of the Duke Diet & Fitness Center, says that the body does supply extra blood to aid in digestion, but not enough blood to keep your arm and leg muscles from properly functioning. Your biggest danger related to eating and swimming is probably a minor cramp.

If you have a chronic illness or condition the National Institute for Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Disease recommends you consult your health practitioner to determine the best time of day for exercise. This is because there may be times of the day when you have chemicals called ketones in your blood. Ketones influence the glucose in your blood. If you exercise when these levels are off, you can become very ill.

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