This is the best time to exercise in the day, according to the experts

Experts break down the best time to exercise

Woman looking at laptop with dumbbells on floor
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Do you know when the best time to exercise is? With so many of us working from home, our daily routines and schedules may have changed a lot (sidenote: we're still trying to figure out how to fix our body clock), including where, when, and how we workout. 

Some of us have gotten into alternative ways of keeping fit, whether it's joining virtual yoga classes, investing in the best dumbbells for a peak at-home workout, or going for a run outdoors. But, when is the best and most effective time to shake that booty?

So what's the best time to exercise?

You've probably read lots of different takes on this, with some experts claiming that mornings are best whilst others swear that it's the evenings. But according to Dr Satchidananda Panda, Professor at Salk Institute, San Diego, and author of The Circadian Code, the best time for your workout really depends on what type of exercise you'll be doing.

For example, Dr Panda explains that the ideal time for getting outside and moving is between 6 am and 9 am. "A brisk walk or any outdoor aerobic activity such as running, jogging, or swimming, in the presence of daylight is an excellent way to synchronize your brain clock," he says. 

"This will also enhance brain function and improve your mood for the day. Exposure to daylight increases alertness and reduces depression. On colder days, you also activate brown fat and increase fat-burning potential."

For anything for low-impact or moderate like walking and yoga, aim to do it at lunchtime between 12 pm and 2 pm. This is great, especially during a working day — as it will energize you and help you feel more alert in the afternoon.

Woman sitting in a yoga position pictured from behind

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Meanwhile, the best time for sports exercise is between 3 pm and 6 pm. "This is a great time to exercise, as our body temperature goes up and muscle strength and flexibility start to peak," says Dr Panda. "The muscles absorb and use nutrients in the late afternoon when repair occurs. Motor coordination is best now and blood flow and blood pressure are higher in the afternoon, which improves the oxygenation of muscles."

For activities like swimming, gymnastics, yoga, and Pilates, Dr Panda suggests the evening — specifically between 6 pm and 8 pm. This is a good time for stretching as your body temperature is at its highest and muscles are more flexible.

Physical activity also aids digestion and promotes better sleep, so they work well as pre-dinner and bed activities. 

Sagal Mohammed

Sagal is a journalist, specialising in lifestyle, pop culture, fashion and beauty.  She has written for a number of publications including Vogue, Glamour, Stylist, Evening Standard, Bustle, You Magazine, Dazed and Wonderland to name a few.