Morning vs. Evening Exercise

Most sources out there believe that working out in the morning is more beneficial. Listed below is a summary of reasons why this is believed to be true.

1. You are more likely to stick with a routine if it is in the morning. There is less chance of other activities or distractions getting in the way.
2. After a workout, you continue to burn calories for about 30-60 minutes; therefore, if you remain active throughout the day you can burn more calories.
3. If you exercise too close to your bedtime, you could find yourself restless.
4. Exercising increases oxygen to your brain and will increase your mental sharpness for the day. You may find you need less caffeine.
5. Exercising releases endorphins, which can improve your mood for the day.

Working out in the evening can be beneficial to those who are doing more vigorous exercise such as racquetball or weight lifting. Our bodies’ temperature is higher in the evening and muscles are warmer allowing increased flexibility. Weight lifting in the morning is often ineffective because the glycogen levels are lower.

Free Weights Vs. Machines

Free weights include dumbbells, barbells, ankle weights, and pulleys. Free weights are used for a variety of exercises for the entire body. Exercising with free weights, allow you to perform weighted exercises in a functional motion. This not only strengthens the muscle you are contracting, it allows contraction of many different muscles to stabilize the motion. This is the main difference between using weight machines versus free weights. However, one needs to be careful using free weights because you are more likely to cause an injury due to the freedom of motion.

Machines at the gym provide more structure. Usually machines focus on one part of the body at a time and provide support for the rest of the body. This insures isolation of a muscle contraction at the specific muscle group. Generally they provide diagrams on each machine that tells you how to correctly perform each exercise.

Ideally, one should incorporate both free weights and machines into your workout as they are both beneficial. Please contact Harbor Physical Therapy for details on how to structure your workout with free weights and machines.