July 18, 2024

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The best time of day to exercise, according to science

2 min read

Claire Zulkey, a 44-year-old Chicago-area freelance writer, has a well-established morning routine: She gets her kids off to school, turns the television to a favorite show, and gets moving with a full-body workout. Once completed, Zulkey showers and settles in to work.

Meghan Cully, in contrast, puts in a full day’s work before hitting the gym on her way home. The 32-year-old graphic designer from Maryland is a self-described “slow starter” in the mornings and finds it difficult to get moving early in the day.

Each gets their workout, but is one time of day better than the other? 

Consider your fitness goals 

A small study out of Skidmore College examined the benefits of morning versus evening exercise for both women and men. Paul J. Arciero, Ph.D., professor for health and human physiological sciences department at Skidmore, was the lead investigator. 

“We had the groups follow the same multi-modal routine, randomly dividing them into evening and morning groups,” he says. “We found women and men respond differently to different types of exercise depending on the time of day, which surprised us.”

The study revealed that for women who want to lower blood pressure or reduce belly fat, morning exercise works best. Those women striving for upper body muscle gains, endurance, or overall mood improvement should consider evening workouts.

For the male participants, the findings were somewhat flipped: Evening exercise lowers blood pressure, the risk of heart disease, and feelings of fatigue, while similar to women, they burn more fat with morning exercise. To understand the reasons behind the results, additional research is required.

What might be most ideal, then, says Arciero, is adjusting your workouts to the time of day when you can get the most bang for your buck. “If you’re a female, then, you might want to perform your cardio workouts in the morning, and your strength training in the evening,” he says.

Early…

Amanda Loudin

2024-06-23 20:00:00

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