If you were looking for motivation to squeeze in a morning workout – besides beating the evening gym rush – this could be it.

A new study out of the United Kingdom suggests that 11 a.m. is the ideal time of day to exercise to prevent cardiovascular disease and stroke.

“If you have the flexibility, research shows late morning to be the most beneficial time of day to exercise,” says Bradley Biskup, PA, with the Lifestyle Medicine Program at the Hartford HealthCare Heart & Vascular Institute.

Connect with Hartford HealthCare's Lifestyle Medicine team

Visit websiteCall 833.444.0014

Comparing notes

“This research is intriguing, because it promotes exercise between 8 and 11 a.m., but also adds that the risk of stroke goes down in the evening,” says Biskup.

In reviewing the research, he notes:

  • Early morning and late morning exercises reduced the risk of cardiovascular disease by 11% and 16%, compared to a slightly increased risk of 3% in the evening.
  • The greatest impact on stroke risk was a 17% reduction for anyone who exercised in the late morning, compared to a 5% reduction in the evening.
  • Late morning was also most beneficial in reducing the risk of ischemic stroke, by 21% versus 5% in the early morning and 8% in the evening.

“These are important since you can get slightly greater risk reduction by exercising later in the morning,” he says.

Am I eligible for weight loss surgery?

Start hereCall 855.792.6258

Any time will do

Yet, Biskup says less than 10% of the population exercises at all, so he would stop short of discouraging afternoon or evening workouts.

“It comes down to when you can fit it into your life. I’d hate to put too many restrictions on things,” he says. “While this research focuses on exercisers and not sedentary individuals, it should be stressed that exercise in general can reduce one’s risk of heart disease and stroke by 40%.”

The most important takeaway, Biskup emphasizes, is to exercise whenever your work or family schedule allows.

“It’s just important to do it.”