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Best Times to Workout for Students

4 February 2022

University is a great balancing act between your personal life and studying. When you get weighed down with assignments, revision and exam stress, often exercise can be the first thing to be skipped. 

In addition, it’s well known that starting university can disrupt people’s body clocks. Late nights in the library (or clubs), followed by early starts for those 9am lectures can throw your routine into turmoil. 

So, with this all in mind, squeezing physical activity in at any point of the day is a win for your health and wellbeing. 

However, for those who want to reach their fitness goals and get the best results, is there a particular time of the day that is best to workout?

Early birds get the worm

There’s a whole host of research out there that suggests exercising in the morning is the most successful way to help achieve fitness goals. 

It is even suggested that working out and increasing your heart rate early in the day on an empty stomach  (a.k.a ‘fasted cardio’) is the most successful method for weight loss as it burns more stored fat. 

Exercising first thing is also a great method for setting up your day for success. 

Exercise releases endorphins and reduces stress meaning that you’re more likely to be level-headed and more productive during the day. So, tackling a workout before a day in the library may actually help you get more done. 

More so, working out early off in the day ensures you actually have time to fit it into your schedule. 

Throughout the day tasks crop up, seminars may get moved, or you realise you’ve got a deadline closer than you thought – plans for a workout later in the day are easily scrapped in favour of more high priority tasks. 

 

Resetting your body clock

University often has stress associated with it, stress is known to disrupt the body’s circadian rhythm (sleep-cycle), which can be characterised by difficulty in falling asleep and light sleeping. 

Early morning workouts have surprising health benefits such as shifting your circadian rhythm. The body naturally becomes more awake in the morning and more tired in the evening, once working out in the morning becomes routine.

Morning exercise is also said to increase deep sleep when compared to evening exercise. 

However, if you’re really not a morning person, forcing yourself to hit the gym early in the morning may result in a sub-par workout. Low intensity means not much energy is expanded so there’s likely to be little to no results. 

 

Night owl? No problem

Although working out in the morning may set you up for the day, evening or afternoon workouts could be more productive. 

Research indicates that the majority of people physically perform better later, making it potentially a better time to exercise. 

Body temperature on average is 2 degrees warmer later in the day than in the morning so strength, flexibility and endurance show improved physical performance.

You should however avoid high intensity workouts late in the evening. Increased temperature, heart rate and alertness can all have a negative impact on the ability to fall asleep. 

The most significant benefit of working out later in the day is having more time. 

Once the day of lectures and seminars is complete you can focus solely on your workout regime. 

This increased focus can lead to more effective and longer workouts. The resulting  increased endorphins will help you de-stress from a day of studying. 

Evening exercise also presents itself as a social opportunity. More of your university friends are likely to be free to join a fitness class, sport or other activity that can make your workout much more enjoyable.

The conclusion

When it comes down to it, as long as you don’t push your body too hard, exercise at any point of the day will have real benefits for both your physical and mental health. 

During university it can be easy to let slip self-care in priority for other things whether that be studying or socialising. It can become a juggling act, so making time for fitness is great, as long as the timing works for you. 

Regardless of whether you workout in the AM or PM, try to keep it consistent. By keeping a workout regime it’s likely you’ll make progress in your fitness journey. And isn’t that the point of working out after all? 

 

All of our Novel student accommodation buildings have gyms on-site, even some outdoor! They are all fully stocked with techno-gym equipment and we also run onsite fitness classes! Check out more about our wellness offering here.

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