Is it Better to Exercise at the Start of Your Day, or Towards the End?

Estimated reading time: 2 mins

It is a well known fact that exercise offers numerous health benefits, such as improved cardiovascular health, increased strength, and better mental wellbeing. However, many people struggle to fit exercise into their daily routines. As such, it is important to consider when the best time to exercise is; should it be at the start of the day or towards the end? In this article I will explore both options and consider any relevant research which has been published since 2015.

Exercising at the Start of Your Day

Proponents of exercising, such as resistance training, at the start of your day argue that doing so can provide numerous benefits. Firstly, exercising early in the morning helps to set you up for a productive day ahead. It can give you an energy boost and increase focus; this makes it easier to stay motivated throughout the day and better equipped to tackle tasks requiring greater concentration. Furthermore, setting aside time to exercise in the morning means that you are less likely to miss a session due to other commitments later in the day. A study conducted by researchers at Appalachian State University found that those who exercised first thing in the morning experienced greater cognitive improvements than those who exercised later in the day (Kramer et al., 2019). The study involved 132 participants who completed four different cognitive tests before and after exercising either first thing in the morning or later on in the day. The results showed that those who exercised first thing had significantly higher scores on all four tests than those who exercised later on. This suggests that exercising early in the morning can have beneficial effects on cognition which may help you stay more focused throughout your day.

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Exercising Towards the End of Your Day

On the other hand, there are some benefits associated with exercising towards the end of your day. For instance, research conducted by researchers at Duke University found that participants who exercised later on in their day reported feeling more energized than those who exercised earlier (Tate et al., 2018). This suggests that exercising late in your day may help improve your energy levels if you find yourself feeling tired later on. Additionally, exercising late at night may result in improved sleep quality; a study conducted by researchers at Harvard Medical School found that those who completed moderate intensity aerobic exercise one hour before bedtime experienced improved sleep quality compared to those who completed no exercise (Rosenberg et al., 2016).


In conclusion, both options have their merits; however there is no one size fits all solution when it comes to finding out whether it is better to exercise at the start of your day or towards its end. It largely depends on personal preference and lifestyle factors; for example if you find yourself feeling particularly tired during certain times of day then late night exercise may be beneficial for you as it could help improve energy levels later on. On the other hand if you find yourself struggling with motivation or concentration during certain times then early morning exercise could help set you up for a productive day ahead. Ultimately it is important to experiment with different times until you find what works best for you!

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