Physical activity in the evening: is it good or bad? Science answer

Training in the evening is often the only possible option for those who work. But what does science say about it?

Being physically active in the evening, after a long day of work or school, may seem tiring. However, for a fair number of people, this is the only time of the day they can dedicate time to training. But is it true that evening exercise can have negative effects on sleep and the quality of a night’s rest? According to experts… not necessarily.

Evening physical activity and its effect on sleep

while Train in the evening We have some cons Compared to doing it during the day, many studies show that It does not worsen sleep, if done with due care. “If you have the luxury of being able to choose the right time to do it, there are many reasons why you should be physically active at the beginning of the day,” explained Marie-Pierre St. Onge, a professor of nutritional medicine at Columbia Medical University. Center in an article published by Consumer Reports. Morning exercise in sunlight can help us synchronize our body clock, making it easier to wake up in the morning and fall asleep at night.. Doing exercise early in the morning prevents us from skipping it if the day is busy. However, if morning exercises are not in our plans, doing some evening exercises may be the best solution. “Any physical activity is good”identifies Saint-Onge.

Evening physical activity: What the science says

It is known that physical activity increases heart rate and body temperature. For this reason, some experts believe that you should not exercise in the evening hours. But as explained by L Commercial Record Trent Yamamoto“Regardless of whether evening exercise is chosen out of preference or necessity, it does not necessarily have a negative impact on sleep,” said the coordinator of the Exercise Physiology Research Laboratory at UCLA. Recent studies seem to confirm this:

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  • 2018 study Published in the Journal of Sports Medicine found that, In general, compared to no exercise, evening exercise is associated with a greater amount of REM sleep and deep sleep, both of which are important for health. Although in some cases researchers have observed higher body temperature before sleep and less efficient sleep.
  • A 2019 Australian study conducted on young people found no negative effects on sleep.
  • And Another study from 2020 They found no significant differences in sleep between those who trained in the morning and those who trained in the evening.

Is morning or evening the same? Not really: Experts believe that individual differences matter a lot and that more data is needed to draw definitive conclusions.

What is the best time to practice physical activity?

Different studies have shown that exercising at different times can have different physiological effects. Among these studies is a recent study that found that exercising in the middle of the day or afternoon was associated with a lower risk of heart disease, while other research has found some specific benefits of exercising in the morning or evening depending on gender. But according to Michael Rogers, Professor of Human Performance Studies at Wichita State University in Kansas (USA), unless they are professional athletes, for most people, The various benefits of morning or evening exercise will be so small as to be insignificant. Consistency is more important than time. The important thing is to get regular physical activity.

When do you train in the evening versus bedtime?

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Generally, Those who train in the evening should finish the activity an hour or two before bedTo give the body time to cool down. Low-intensity activities such as yoga or walking may be more appropriate. But what is important is to be aware of your limits: for those who have difficulty sleeping, it is not recommended to engage in excessive physical activity in the evening, such as playing basketball in a bright gym. However, according to the experts he consulted Consumer ReportsIf, after dinner, you can go for a run or lift weights and still feel able to sleep and wake up refreshed the next morning, then there are no contraindications.

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