Running at Night vs Morning: Does it Matter When You Run?
When you are considering running at night vs morning, there’s a lot more to it than the position of the sun. For starters, running to begin with is a step in the right direction for your health. But will running at night vs morning make a difference in your efforts?
Before you set your alarm to go off before the sun rises or try to reschedule your meetings so you can find time to run after work, you need to know about running at night vs morning.
Most people choose to go running between 6am and 7am in the morning, between 3pm and 5pm in the afternoon, and between 6pm and 8pm. The ideal time to run though is when you go with your own circadian rhythm. This will be when your core body temperature is high, which tends to happen around 5pm to 7pm.
This high core body temperature helps boost blood flow while bringing in more oxygen to your muscles. It’s also easier for your joints because they’ll be better lubricated. You’ll have more energy and stamina and your body will more easily breakdown glucose and glycogen.
But there’s far more to running at night vs morning. Taking a look at each situation will help you choose the right time for you.
Morning Runs : pros and cons.
When you think of running at night vs morning, the morning is often the hardest for those that don’t like getting up early. However, if you like waking up and starting your day early, you can get more headspace while enjoying a quieter running environment.
There are less people around and hence, less traffic and noise. The sun is also just coming up so the heat won’t get t you as easily. There are even more benefits to starting your day with your run though.
– You’ll eat less and lose weight
If you run without breakfast, your body begins burning fat instead of carbs and proteins. Plus, if you usually eat a heavy, fatty, and high-calorie diet, when you go running in the morning with an empty belly, you prevent weight gain while improving glucose tolerance.
– It’s great for building muscles
In the morning, it is better to run if more muscles are your goal. However, you should eat protein for breakfast as soon as you get back or you’ll lose that muscle mass.
– Morning runs destroy depression
When comparing running at night vs morning, morning wins for those that have trouble with depression. Depression is often worse in the morning because the stress hormone, cortisol, is highest at this time of day. With running, you can release endorphins which will have a stronger effect. Still, running any time of day will help with depression, but the endorphin release will be better in the morning.
– Better for blood pressure
For those with high blood pressure, a morning run may be a good idea. It can help bring down your systolic blood pressure which is ideal if you have hypertension.
And you may even sleep better too when you start your day off with a run.
However, there are a few downsides to running in the morning. Namely, if you aren’t used to waking up early, forcing yourself to run isn’t a good idea. Your core body temperature also remains low at this time when your muscles are stiff and your output is low. This means you’ll be more prone to injuries.
With those that have high blood pressure, this is the time when you are most vulnerable to strokes or heart attacks.
Night Runs : pros and cons.
Running at night vs morning may be the best time to run or even do any exercise as per what the scientists say. Your core body temperature, reflexes, hormones, and breathing capacity all peak late in the afternoon. Some say a late afternoon run starting at 4pm or onward is ideal as your body has everything aligned. That core temperature, alertness, energy, and breathing capacity are all ready to power you up.
When that body temperature is higher, the blood vessels dilate which gives your body a better supply of oxygen and nutrients. You have better connection and speed from your nerves which boosts alertness, and this also helps breakdown the glucose and glycogen for even more energy.
Running at night vs morning has even more benefits for you too.
– You’re building more muscles than in the morning
While running is good in the morning for those muscles, the afternoon and evening are even better. Running outdoors or on an incline later in the day will bode best for resistance training.
– You can run longer
When your goal is to train for a long-distance run, running at night vs morning wins. You will have more energy and your lung capacity is at its peak. It also builds your endurance.
– There’s a lower risk for injuries
Because your body is at the right setting, your muscle strength and flexibility will benefit. Your heart is more ready for a good run and the hormones epinephrine and norepinephrine boost the mood while lowering your sensations for pain.
– It’s better if you have a disrupted rhythm
Running at night vs morning is way better for you if you work late at night, in shifts, or for those that travel across different time zones. Your circadian rhythm is off in these situations which disrupts your sleep cycle. When that body clock is out of sync, you are more prone to heart disease, obesity, and diabetes. Running at night can help put this part of your life back into balance.
– Blood pressure is reduced
Running at night vs morning is great for those with high blood pressure. With high blood pressure, it doesn’t go down at night. But if you run at 7pm, you can lower blood pressure.
When it comes to running at night vs morning, there are only a few downsides. The temperatures may be too hot at that time, or your schedule may be too busy, but your health should be a top priority when you schedule a run. Additionally, you may find the visibility a problem when the sun sets or that there is too much traffic, though running at night in a park without cars flying by may be a better idea.
The biggest thing to keep in mind when you run at night is that it could perk you up too much and prevent you from going to sleep. If you find this is the case, try running a little earlier in the night instead. You can also take a shower as soon as you finish running to cool yourself down and get your body ready for sleep.
So Who Wins – Running at Night vs Morning?
In the evening, you lower that nighttime blood pressure and in the late afternoon you build muscles, so running at night tends to win out over running in the morning. There are greater benefits to your health by doing this exercise at the end of your day.
However, running at the time that works for you and feels most comfortable is by far the biggest consideration. If you’ve been running at the same time each day and that works for you, your body has adjusted to your routine and you shouldn’t disrupt it.
For athletes, you can sharpen your craft by going late afternoon for long-distance runs. If you’re into sprints, early evening will work best. And if you simply want to lose weight or boost the mood, those morning runs will be your jam.
Arguably though, getting those sneakers laced and hitting the pavement or trail is important at any time of day. As long as you are running and making a point to exercise, the time really shouldn’t matter when you’re getting it done.
Once you start running, stick to the time that works for you whether you’re running at night vs morning. By keeping to your commitment at any time of day, you’re doing good for your mind and body.