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Changing the time you exercise can help you lose more weight, according to a study

Ten years of research led to the conclusion that choosing the time of day to train is important if limitations are to be avoided (Getty)

It could be believed that it is a question of habits. Maybe even personal taste. However, the time of day you exercise is directly related to the results you want to achieve. This was revealed by a recent study published in the journal Frontiers in Physiologyaccording to which the time of day (Exercise Time Of Day, ETOD) could affect the benefit of exercise.

Is that the moment within the routine in which to fit training time is often influenced by family schedules, work schedules and even possibly even if someone defines himself as more “day” or “night owl”.

However, ten years of research led to the conclusion that the choice of the time of day to train is important if limitations are to be avoided.

Randomized controlled research indicates that ETOD affects exercise efficacy and also shows that these effects vary by type of exercise and between women and men.

“Here we show for the first time that for women, morning exercise reduces abdominal fat and blood pressure, while evening exercise for women increases upper-body muscle strength, power, and endurance, and improves overall mood and nutritional satiety”, said the principal investigator, Dr. Paul J Arciero, a professor in the Department of Human Physiological and Health Sciences at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York.

The timing of exercise remains a controversial issue, and one that divides opinions (Getty)
The timing of exercise remains a controversial issue, and one that divides opinions (Getty)

Also, the work concluded that “For men, evening exercise reduces blood pressure, heart disease risk, and feelings of fatigue, and burns more fat, compared to morning exercise.”

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“Humans exhibit circadian rhythms and diurnal variations in their physiology and in the time of day in which the exercise is performed, normally falling into a chronotype of morning or evening preference -the authors justified their study-. Expression of putative molecular clock genes exhibits individualized diurnal variation, which correlates with muscular strength exercise performance and the clock itself. Timing of exercise remains controversial, with some researchers favoring morning exercise to improve muscle adaptations and energy utilization, while others have shown afternoon/evening exercise to be more favorable for improving function. muscular”.

For work, the researchers enlisted the help of 30 women and 26 men. All were between 25 and 55 years old, healthy, physically active, non-smokers, and of normal weight. They were trained by trainers for 12 weeks with 60 minutes of resistance training, sprint interval training, stretch training, or resistance training, depending on the day of the week. Rest days were Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays. The participants followed a carefully developed diet plan that included between 1.1 and 1.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight each day.

"Humans exhibit circadian rhythms and diurnal variations in their physiology and in the time of day they exercise" (Getty)
“Humans exhibit circadian rhythms and diurnal variations in their physiology and in the time of day they exercise” (Getty)

Male and female participants were randomly assigned to one of two regimens: morning exercise only (60 minutes between 06:30 and 08:30) or evening training (between 18:00 and 20:00). Those assigned to morning exercise ate breakfast immediately after exercise and had three more meals throughout the day at four-hour intervals. Those assigned to night exercise ate three meals at four-hour intervals before training, followed by one afterward.

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At both the beginning and the end of the trial, the participants were thoroughly tested for their aerobic power, muscular endurance, flexibility, balance, upper and lower body strength and power, and jumping ability.

In addition to changes in the participants’ physical and metabolic parameters, such as blood pressure, arterial stiffness, respiratory exchange rate, and body distribution and percentage of fat during the trial, the researchers also measured changes in blood biomarkers For example, insulin, total HDL cholesterol, C-reactive protein, and IL-6. They also administered questionnaires to the participants, to quantify changes in mood and feelings of food satiety.

Evening exercise is ideal for men interested in improving heart and metabolic health, as well as emotional well-being, as found in the study (Getty)
Evening exercise is ideal for men interested in improving heart and metabolic health, as well as emotional well-being, as found in the study (Getty)

The researchers saw that all participants improved their overall health and performance over the course of the trial, regardless of their assignment to morning or evening exercise.

According to Arcero, “The study clearly demonstrates the benefits of both morning and evening multimodal exercise for improving mood and cardiometabolic health, as well as physical performance outcomes in women and men.”

But for him “Crucially, it also shows that ETOD determines the strength of improvements in physical performance, body composition, cardiometabolic health, and mood.”.

Namely, all female participants reduced total body fat, abdominal and hip fat, and blood pressure during the test, but these improvements were greater in women who exercised in the morning. Meanwhile, men who exercised at night showed a decrease in their total cholesterol to HDL ratio, blood pressure, respiratory exchange ratio, and carbohydrate oxidation, as fat became the preferred fuel source.

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Based on the findings, Arciero recommended that “Women interested in reducing abdominal fat and blood pressure, while at the same time increasing leg muscle strength, should consider exercising in the morning. However, for women interested in gaining upper body muscular strength, power and endurance, as well as improving overall mood and food intake, evening exercise is the preferred option.”

On the contrary, evening exercise is ideal for men interested in improving heart and metabolic health, as well as emotional well-beingas observed in the study.

Stephen J Ives is an Associate Professor at Skidmore College and the second author of the paper, concluding: “We have shown that ETOD should be an important consideration for anyone, women and men, given its effects on the strength of physiological exercise outcomes. But regardless of ETOD, regular exercise is essential to our health.”

Multimodal exercise has apparent benefits for both athletes and recreational exercisers, the researchers found.

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