Harvard Women's Health Watch

Is there an optimal time of day for exercise?

Ask the doctors

Q. What’s the best time of day to exercise to get the most benefit?

A. Some people swear by morning workouts, because they squeeze them in before a busy schedule can derail their efforts. Morning exercise sessions may also help them move into their day feeling energized. But others dread the idea of dragging themselves out of bed early to hit the treadmill. Instead, they save their workout until the end of the day, when they feel more limber and can unwind.

Who’s right? There really is no best time of day to get that workout done — just the best time for you. Pick a time that allows you to follow through on your exercise plans consistently and ideally to get at least two hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or an hour and 15 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity. You should also set aside two days a week to do muscle-building activities that work all of your major muscle groups.

— by Hope Ricciotti, M.D., and Hye-Chun Hur, M.D., M.P.H.Editors in Chief, Harvard Women’s Health Watch

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