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Literature Review

People are told throughout their lives that exercise is important to be happy and healthy,
but many people have trouble deciding on a time to do it. Morning exercise has been found to
have more benefits than afternoon or evening exercise, but exercise, at any time, has a positive
effect on people.
Morning Exercise
Some people may forego a morning workout to get more sleep, but exercising in the
morning has been linked to better sleep that evening. In a study conducted by Appalachian State
University, those who exercised for half an hour in the morning, experienced significantly better
sleep compared to those who exercised mid-day or in the evening (Reichert). Rather than for
better sleep, however, many exercise in order to get/stay in shape. For this, consistency is
important, and exercising in the morning is known to be a good way of staying consistent.
Getting a workout in before starting daily responsibilities is an effective strategy to avoid putting
off the exercise as new tasks arise throughout the day. Consistent time of day for exercise also
has the benefit of regulating the bodys cycles. If the exercise is outside, the exposure to the sun
in the morning can help regulate your sleep/wake cycle (What Time). One particular study
performed on mice involved either allowing the mice free access to a wheel or access only at
specific times. It was found that if the wheel was only available for a total of six hours a day,
rather than at all times, the mice were actually more active. This consistent exercise also
regulated the activity peaks of different systems within the mice (Schroeder). In addition,
morning exercise, especially before breakfast, increases weight loss. This is due to more efficient
fat-burning while exercising in a fasting state (i.e. Right after sleeping). For these reasons,
exercising in the morning is better than other times of day (Reichert, Schroeder, What Time).
Afternoon Exercise
Exercising in the afternoon has similar effects to morning exercise on sleep quality. This
could be due to body temperature changes caused by exercise. Exercising increases body
temperature for several hours, after which body temperature lowers, which signals your body to
start shifting into sleep mode (What Time). There are also physiological benefits to exercising
in the afternoon relating to body temperature. In the afternoon, the body is warmer than in the
morning, which can help muscles perform more efficiently (Diet, What Time).
Frequent Exercise
While exercising at different times can have varying effects on sleep, some benefits take
effect no matter the time of the workout. Exercising has been linked to better cognitive function
and academic performance. Studies also suggest exercise plays a big part in the production of
new brain cells, particularly in the dentate gyrus, a part of the brain heavily involved in learning
and memory skills (Richardson). Even just thirty minutes of exercise a day for grade school

students, coupled with a math class, resulted in about a 20% increase in math test scores,
compared to a 4% growth for non-exercisers (Richardson). Another benefit, and one that
especially appeals to college students, is that exercise reduces, and helps manage, stress. A big
component of this is that exercise reduces endorphins within the brain, which cause the person to
feel happier and more energetic (Physical). A release from the Center for Disease Control
shows that most people around the age of college students, from 18 to 24, get the recommended
amount of exercise and therefore get the benefits that go along with it (Early Release).

Works Cited
"Diet, Exercise and Sleep." Nutrition, Exercise & Sleep 2. National Sleep Foundation.
Web. 02 Apr. 2016.
"Early Release of Selected Estimates Based Data From the ..." Cdc.gov. Center for
Disease Control, 2014. Web. 2 Apr. 2016.
"Physical Activity Reduces Stress." Physical Activity Reduces Stress. Anxiety and
Depression Association of America. Web. 02 Apr. 2016.
Reichert, Robin. "What Are the Benefits of Early Morning Exercise?" What Are the
Benefits of Early Morning Exercise? Demand Media. Web. 02 Apr. 2016.
Richardson, Vanessa. "A Fit Body Means a Fit Mind." Edutopia. George Lucas
Educational Foundation, 27 May 2009. Web. 02 Apr. 2016.
Schroeder, Analyne M., Danny Truong, Dawn H. Loh, Maria C. Jordan, Kenneth P.

Roos, and Christopher S. Colwell. "Voluntary Scheduled Exercise Alters Diurnal


Rhythms of Behaviour, Physiology and Gene Expression in Wild-type and Vasoactive
Intestinal Peptide-deficient Mice." The Journal of Physiology 590.23 (2012): 6213-226.
Web. 2 Apr. 2016.
"What Time of Day to Exercise for Better Sleep | Sleep.org." SleepOrg. National Sleep
Foundation. Web. 02 Apr. 2016.