Morning or evening: When's the ideal time to exercise to get best results?

Study reveals exercise during different hours impacts individuals differently

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Web Desk
Study suggests exercising in the evening gives best result. — Pexels
Study suggests exercising in the evening gives best result. — Pexels

A new study conducted by researchers at the University of Sydney in Australia revealed a surprising health benefit from working out in the evening after 6pm than breaking a sweat in the morning.

The study examined the impact of exercise routines and outcomes on the health of 30,000 obese individuals aged 62-88 over eight years, aiming to answer the age-old question about whether the time of day you move your body makes a difference to your health?

The study revealed that obese individuals who exercised after 6pm had a 61% lower risk of dying and a 36% lower risk of developing heart disease compared to obese people who didn’t exercise at all.

Meanwhile, those who exercised in the morning had only a 33% lower risk of dying and 17% lower risk of heart disease.

Professor Emmaneul Stamatakis, study author and director of the Mackenzie Wearables Research Hub at Charles Perkins Centre, said: "This study suggests that the timing of physical activity could be an important part of the recommendations for future obesity and type 2 diabetes management, and preventive healthcare in general."

The study analysed the participants' weekly activity using a 24-hour fitness tracker and found that physical activity levels vary significantly among individuals, influenced by factors such as age, sex, smoking habits, and diet, and not just exercise.

Participants were sorted into four categories depending on when the majority of their activity occurred: morning, afternoon and evening.

The study found that morning exercisers worked from 6am to noon, afternoon athletes from noon to 6pm, and evening participants from 6pm to midnight had the best outcomes, based on observational findings from smaller trials.

According to Dr Angelo Sabag, lecturer in Exercise Physiology at the University of Sydney, around two in three Australians, due to societal factors, are overweight or obese, increasing their risk of major cardiovascular conditions like heart attacks, stroke, and premature death.

"Exercise is by no means the only solution to the obesity crisis, but this research does suggest that people who can plan their activity into certain times of the day may best offset some of these health risks," Sabag added.


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