If you exercise regularly, or have just boarded the train to wellness, you may wonder if one time of day -- in or out of the office -- is better for exercising. Some people claim first thing in the morning is the best time to exercise. The argument for this is that it raises your metabolism for the rest of the day. Others may reason that the body, not yet warmed up or fed, will work harder and burn more body fat.
Some people believe later in the afternoon is better for exercise. They reason that it's better because your body is warmed up and ready for action. Perhaps a late-day run will undo the caloric damage you took on at breakfast and lunch.
In truth, the evidence isn't really clear whether working out at one particular time of day burns more calories than at any other time [source: Skarnulis]. This should be welcome news to third-shift employees or anyone who has access to a 24-hour gym.
It comes down to what's right for you. For some, it's easiest to work out upon waking before daily obligations barge in and demand attention. Others prefer to be fully awake when exercising and enjoy using the time to shed the day's accumulated stress.
Working out once a day for an hour is recommended, but if you can't spare an hour, getting any exercise at all is a positive thing, and a half hour is still very good [source: Blackburn]. You can even break up your exercise into two or more sessions if that works better for your schedule. Multiple sessions allow you to get in a workout before or after work, as well as another one sometime during your workday.
In fact, a Harvard University study indicated that there was little difference in benefits received from doing one hour of exercise or four 15-minute sessions spread out throughout the day [source: Blackburn]. For the office Olympian-hopeful, this means intense daily exercise sessions don't have to be sacrificed for work, just cut up into smaller blocks of time.
But what's the best time to exercise at work? We'll talk about it in the next section.