The Best Time Of Day To Do Cardio Might Surprise You

Everyone is going to have a different daily routine depending on work schedules, family obligations and sleep patterns. This means that people are likely fitting their cardio in at different times of day. However, is there a best time of day to do cardio if you were able to adjust your schedule?

First, why is it so important to carve out time for cardio exercise? Isn't just getting in some walking everyday good enough?

While getting a daily walk in is always a good idea, ideally you should be working your way up to more rigorous aerobic activity, according Mayo Clinic. This is because intensifying your aerobic exercise over time will increase your breathing capacity. That means chances are you won't be gasping for breath when you get to the top of the stairs the same way you were a month prior. Performing vigorous cardio exercise regularly is also a great way to enhance your mood, build a healthy appetite, and improve sleep, among other benefits.

Should everyone do cardio the same time of day?

The best time of day to do cardio is going to depend on your personal exercise goals, interventional cardiologist Leslie Cho, M.D. tells Cleveland Clinic. "Exercising in the morning may be associated with lower blood pressure, better sleep and greater weight loss," Dr. Cho says. However, she also adds, "On the other hand, afternoon or evening exercise is associated with peaks in body temperature and flexibility and appears to be better at improving aerobic performance and strength."

Then there are segments of the population with specific health issues where the science indicates that a particular time of day is going to be best to do cardio. For instance, a recent study revealed that middle-aged to senior men who were at risk of or suffering from type 2 diabetes experienced "more pronounced metabolic benefits" when they exercised in the afternoon compared to the morning (via The Physiological Society).

There are varying opinions among medical experts about the best time of day to do cardio and other forms of exercise. However, as Dr. Cho points out, the most important aspect of what makes for a successful exercise routine is consistency. "Consistency is the most important variable and is most strongly linked to achieving positive results," she says, adding, "Regardless of why you exercise, pick the time that works best for you and stick with it."