A recent study published in The Journal of Physiology has found that the time of day when you exercise can have a significant impact on your health, particularly for those suffering from metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a group of disorders that increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes and is estimated to affect approximately 33% of people between the ages of 20 and 60.
The study, conducted by the Physiological Society of the United Kingdom, focused on the effects of high-intensity aerobic exercise on individuals with metabolic syndrome. The results showed that performing this type of exercise in the morning was more effective in improving health outcomes compared to exercising in the afternoon.
Researchers found that circadian rhythms, which govern physiological processes such as appetite, rest, and physical performance, play a significant role in the response to exercise. Scheduling exercise sessions to align with an individual’s circadian rhythms could be an effective strategy to optimize the health benefits of exercise, according to the study.
The study involved 139 volunteers who did not engage in regular physical activity and had a body mass index greater than 30, along with three of the primary risk factors for metabolic syndrome. Participants were randomly assigned to either a morning exercise group, an evening exercise group, or a non-exercising control group.
After 16 weeks, the results showed that supervised aerobic exercise, without dietary restriction, led to improvements in cardiorespiratory and metabolic fitness, body composition, and mean arterial pressure. However, those who exercised in the morning saw further reductions in systolic blood pressure and insulin resistance compared to those who exercised in the afternoon.
The findings suggest that timing plays a crucial role in the effectiveness of exercise, particularly for individuals with metabolic syndrome. By aligning exercise with an individual’s circadian rhythms, it may be possible to maximize the health benefits of physical activity and combat cardiometabolic diseases.