Who knew a weekday afternoon was such a hot time to sweat?
Everyone has their own ideal time for exercise. It’s either the hour of the day when they feel their best to move, or it’s the only hour of day when they have a window to move—whether or not they feel good. In terms of the best or “healthiest” time to exercise, the jury is still out on a definitive answer. There’s either conflicting or inconclusive evidence confirming whether morning exercise or afternoon exercise reigns supreme. Most fitness experts agree that the best time to exercise is whenever it makes the most sense for you, your body, and your schedule.
But what about the most popular times to exercise? Digital fitness coaching app Future found compelling commonalities in a large sample of its users' workout timing and tendencies—and they might not be what you’d expect. After looking at the behavior of a sample of 20,000 Future members, results showed that the most popular hour of the week for a workout is Monday at 4 p.m. Who knew late afternoon on a Monday would be a peak time to sweat?
Overall, Mondays seem to be the top day of the week for exercise, and findings showed that workouts drop off day by day as the week progresses. While some people prefer to catch up on their weekly exercise goals over the weekend, Future saw that the majority of this member sample appear to prefer fitting in their fitness earlier in the week and going easier on the exercise toward Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. (Sunday is the lowest day for workouts, according to the stats.)
The most popular time of day for exercisers to hit the gym on weekdays is 5 p.m.—suggesting that a post-work-day sweat is the most realistic and preferable workout schedule Monday through Friday. But over the weekends, things shift toward the morning thanks to clearer calendars, and 10 a.m. becomes the top time to move, per the data.
Interestingly, different age groups tend to prefer different times of day for exercise. While on average, during the weekdays, Gen X likes to work out first thing in the morning, between 6 and 9 a.m. (with a peak at 6 a.m.), Millennials and Gen Z prefer to get their fitness in the evenings, between 5 and 8 p.m. (with a peak at 5 p.m).
Whatever time of day you prefer to move your body, keep it up and don’t overthink it. Your exercise goal for overall health, longevity, and disease prevention should be roughly 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of high-intensity aerobic physical activity every week. If you can squeeze in some weight training for strength, that’s even better to help support heart health, metabolism, disease prevention, and more.
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