Is there a best time of day to do Pilates?




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I love Pilates because of the numerous health benefits and the flexibility to do it anytime, anywhere. All you need is some space, suitable clothing and you’re good to go.

Such flexibility means you can enjoy it any time of the day, but is there a best time of day? Morning, afternoon and evening all have benefits.

Morning is the best time of day to do Pilates as it offers the most benefits.  Morning time offers few distractions and after a nights sleep Pilates gets the body moving, after which you feel invigorated and ready for the day ahead.  

This doesn’t mean you should only do Pilates in the morning, consistent exercise anytime of day is much better for you than occasional morning workouts.

In a poll of my YouTube channel, 65% of respondents said they prefer to do Pilates in the morning, with the remaining 35% prefering the evening.

Different times of day benefit you in different ways,  let’s take a closer look.

Benefits of Pilates

My journey started when I took it up to help with back issues.  My love for Pilates grew so much I became an instructor, training others at various local studios.

There are a lot of benefits to regular Pilates exercise no matter what time you do it:

  • It’s a low-impact workout
  • Gain more strength and flexibility
  • Improves posture, body awareness and balance
  • Tones up the body
  • Helps combat stress and anxiety

I’ve tried many forms of exercise but Pilates has become my go-to daily activity, since taking it up I’ve benefited from increased core strength, increased energy levels, and an overall increase in fitness levels.

It’s also one of the most varied form of exercise, I enjoy mixing up my clients training, sometimes we’ll use equipment, such as resistance bands, often we will do a mat class using only out body weight.

As an instructor I practice several times per week and have performed morning workouts, afternoon workouts, and evening workouts to fit in with my clients schedules, here is what I’ve found to be the main differences.

Benefits of Pilates in the Morning

I love getting a morning fix, it helps me feel ready for the day ahead!  Building an exercise routine around regular morning Pilates is a brilliant way to start your day, it will help your body wake up and make your entire body feel energised.

The morning often provides fewer distractions than later in the day, allowing you to focus fully on your fitness goals and during the lighter, warmer, months starting the day outdoors, especially if you’ve a job that keeps you inside, can provide you with an early morning connection to nature.

An additional health benefit is that research has found early morning exercise might be best for losing weight, with fat burning in participants highest when exercise was carried out in the morning (Source: Article).

There are some considerations to morning Pilates, you may find an extra warm up is required as your body temperature is generally lower than usual when you first wake up.  As the seasons change you’ll find yourself getting ready in half-light and eventually darkness, when winter comes I don’t feel as motivated to step outside in the cold weather!

There are plenty of free YouTube videos if you’re looking for inspiration and there are some classes available first thing, Zoom classes are most convenient as you don’t need to leave the house, but if you have the time to go to a group session or one-to-one this can be a very rewarding start to your day.

If you’re in a rush don’t worry about routines using equipment, leave the Magic Circle to one side and focus on mat exercises to maximise your available time.

Benefits of Pilates in the Afternoon

Midday can be a great time to reset and re-energize after a hectic morning.  I see clients who have had a stressful morning and have lots on their mind, and they benefit from their focus being shifted to a Pilates class, it takes their mind away from work and gives them a mental break.

If you work in an office and are sat down for a lot of the day you’re likely to be familiar with that general feeling of having been in a sedentary position, it can leave you feeling stiff and de-energised.  Putting aside time for a Pilates session, even a small one, can give you a sense of relief from a stretching the body and give you more energy for the rest of the day.

Research suggests it is more effective to exercise in the afternoon than it is in the morning for individuals with type 2 diabetes (source: Article).  Note that this study used a high intensity interval training workout, however it’s a great demonstration of how working out at different times of the day has different results.

The tricky part is making the time and having the opportunity for regular exercise in the afternoon if your job and local facilities don’t allow it. 

It’s wonderful if you can pop out of the office to a local fitness studio to do a Reformer class, but for many people this isn’t an option. Do you have this struggle?  Try these Pilates moves you can do at your desk.

Benefits of Pilates in the Evening

For most, the evening is about turning the corner, leaving work behind, spending time with family and friends and being able to focus on a little you time.

A variety of exercises and sports are available most evenings, and this is when a lot of people attend group a Pilates class or make use of Pilates equipment in their routine.

Early evening classes are a great way to switch off from the day and if attending a group class you’ll look forward to seeing regular faces who long term become friends.

Late evening Pilates can be a great way to unwind, but do be aware it may cause you to have trouble sleeping as it kickstarts your body via raised heart rate and body temperature, you may be left with the same energised buzz that’s so beneficial earlier in the day.

Is it OK to do Pilates before bed? Providing the evening exercise warms you up without making you too energised it can be very beneficial to your sleep.  The increased body temperature generated during the workout will drop post exercise which can help you quickly drop off (try having a hot bath before bed for a similar result).

Want to give a pre-bedtime routine a try?  Try this routine to help you unwind without getting too energised.

Is there a best time of day for Pilates?

The benefits of Pilates can be gained at any time of day, the best time of day is whenever you are able to complete a workout. The important thing is to actually do exercise, don’t put it off because it’s the “wrong” time of day, fit it in where you can and reap the benefits.

If you’re able to be self disciplined enough to follow along to YouTube videos at home you can fit them in whenever is best for you. However, if you’re someone who struggles to do exercise on your own I strongly recommend signing up to a class, either an online or in person class, that has a fixed time to give you someone to be accountable to.


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