Schedule a workout with your kids to get the whole family healthy.

Is It Better to Work Out in the AM or PM?

by Andrea Cespedes

You know better than anyone that a mother's work is never done. Taking 30 to 60 minutes out of your day to exercise, however, has to be part of your routine so you stay energized and healthy to meet the demands of your family. The best time to schedule your workout is whenever you can fit it in. Working out in the morning or afternoon each has its own advantages, so ultimately you have to decide what works best for you.

1. Distractions

Rising early to exercise can be an advantage because you fit in your workout before the rest of the family even stirs. If you put your workout off until the afternoon or evening, you increase the risk that something will come off that will prevent you from getting to the gym. A busy day chasing toddlers, shuttling to soccer practice, making meals, cleaning house and showing up at your office can also leave you zapped of energy and more likely to bail on an evening workout.

2. Body Clock

A morning workout does you no good if you are a zombie in the morning. You may have the best intentions, but if you just can't get out of bed first thing in the morning or find you drag through your workout, you are better off waiting until the afternoon or evening. In the afternoon, your body temperature is higher, which is more conducive to a strong performance. Some people have high energy in the mornings and others in the afternoon. You have to determine what time feels best for your body.

3. Sleep Quality

Moms already tend to be sleep-deprived, so the last thing you want to do is jeopardize your slumber. Sleep experts at one time warned against evening exercise, saying that it could make it harder to fall asleep and disrupt quality sleep. These recommendations are no longer valid since a March 2013 report published by the National Sleep Foundation found that exercisers sleep better than nonexercisers, regardless of what time of day that exercise is completed. Don't fret if you can't get to the gym until after your darlings are tucked in bed; you can still get a good night's sleep and improve your fitness levels.

4. Consistency

You don't have to exercise at the same time every day for it to offer you a benefit. Some days you might fit exercise in during the morning hours while your kids are at school, while others you might squeeze in a jog during their evening soccer practice. Consistently exercising most days of the week is what is important to your fitness level, health and weight maintenance -- not the actual time of day you get moving.

5. Weight Loss

At one time, fitness experts recommended exercising early in the morning -- before breakfast -- to increase your fat-burning capabilities. A paper published in the "Strength and Conditioning Journal" in February 2011 reviewed the research on the topic and found no marked difference in overall fat-burning capabilities of the body between exercising on an empty or fueled stomach. If you do exercise on empty, you risk burning more valuable muscle mass and ending up feeling low on energy, which could result in poor performance, shorter workouts and lower overall calorie burn. Exercise when you can and you'll burn calories, which helps you manage your weight.

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