Mark Wahlberg, Jennifer Aniston and The Rock all get up in the wee hours for their daily exercise routine.
While plenty of research supports the added benefits of rising with or before the sun to sweat (it may lower blood pressure, and it definitely provides an endorphin boost that puts you in the right mood for the day), research suggests short, intense bursts of evening exercise are also beneficial.
A small study published in Experimental Physiology tracked 11 middle-age men who tried a 30-minute routine of six one-minute, high-intensity cycling sprints with four-minute periods of rest. They completed these exercises in the morning (6-7 a.m.), afternoon (2-4 p.m.) and evening (7-9 p.m.).
The researchers wanted to see how the timing of exercise could impact sleep and appetite, so they measured these variables through hormone levels in blood and various sleep tests.
Due to its small and limited sample of participants, the study had some limitations. However, it does provide insight into the type of exercise that you can do if the only time you have to work out is in the evening.
It turns out that high-intensity evening exercise didn't disrupt participants' sleep, and it reduced their hunger, measured by the level of ghrelin, the appetite-stimulating hormone.
So if you're only able to find time late in the day to work out, you might try this kind of high-intensity interval-training.
Remember to get at least 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week for cardiovascular benefits.