There may be one best time of day to exercise, but it’s different for everyone

Exercise is good for you no matter the time of day, but sweating in the morning and evening may target different parts of your body and mind, a new randomized controlled trial has found.

Over a 12-week period, 27 healthy active women and 20 healthy active men participated in a strict diet and training program.

The weekly routine includes four days of exercise, including sprinting, resistance training, stretching and endurance training, and three days off Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday.

Half of the groups did their hour-long exercise routine before breakfast in the morning, while the other half completed their routine before dinner in the evening.

All participants ultimately showed significant improvements in their physical fitness and fitness, but results differed between morning and evening exercise, especially for women.

Compared to women who exercised in the evening, female participants who exercised in the morning burned 7% more belly fat and had a 7% lower blood pressure. The morning routine also resulted in greater leg strength.

On the other hand, women who exercised in the evening showed greater improvements in upper body strength, mood, and food cravings. What’s more, compared to morning exercisers, muscle strength increased by 29% and endurance increased by 15%.

Compared with women, men who participated in the trial were generally less affected by exercise time. That said, exercising in the evening resulted in slightly lower blood pressure and increased fat oxidation compared to exercising in the morning. Night training also reduced fatigue levels by 55 percent.

“Based on our findings, women interested in reducing belly fat and blood pressure, while increasing leg muscle strength, should consider exercising in the morning. However, women interested in gaining upper body muscle strength, strength, and endurance, as well as improving overall mood, should consider exercising in the morning. state and food intake, nighttime exercise is preferred,” explains physiologist Paul Arsiro of Skidmore College.

“Conversely, nighttime exercise is ideal for men interested in improving their heart and metabolic health, as well as their emotional health.”

The study is the first to explore how a diverse exercise regimen affects individuals based on when their workouts occur.

Past research has also found that exercising in the morning has a different effect on the body than exercising in the afternoon or evening, but there is little data on different exercise habits, and most studies have only looked at men.

Today, some estimates suggest that female participants make up only 3 percent of all exercise science research, and animal studies are generally not much better.

For example, previous studies in mice have found that morning exercise is more beneficial for fat loss, while evening exercise can lead to better control of blood sugar levels. However, this study focused only on male mice that performed a single aerobic exercise.

The new long-term trial included both men and women, although its sample size was otherwise limited. Nearly all participants were Caucasian and in good health.

Despite these limitations, the findings suggest that the timing of daily exercise has a greater impact on physical performance in women than in men.

Why this is the case remains undetermined, but the authors have some assumptions. Previous research has shown that men and women have different circadian rhythms, which can affect a person’s physiology and psychology throughout the day.

In fact, every cell in the human body synchronizes with its own clock, cycling through activity patterns for about 24 hours.

Regular exercise so that it coincides with certain peaks and troughs in hormonal levels, metabolism, and neuromuscular factors can theoretically affect a person’s muscle strength, cardiovascular system, body composition, and physical performance.

For example, the authors suspect that an overnight fast somehow causes women’s bodies to lose more fat in the morning.

On the other hand, men who exercised at night were at the peak of their metabolism. This may provide an advantage when using body fat as fuel for nighttime workouts.

While body fat loss was similar in male participants regardless of exercise time, those who exercised at night showed increased fat oxidation, which may indicate that the body is preparing for actual long-term fat loss.

Training sessions over 12 weeks can help determine if this is the case.

The best time to exercise is still hotly debated, but more diverse, longer-term trials like the current one could help clean up the conflicting data scientists have collected so far.

The study was published in Frontiers in Physiology.


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