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Best Time Of Day To Exercise, For Men And Women

It has long been known that consistent exercise can bring about numerous health benefits. However, new data and research on exercise suggests that there may be an optimal time of day for exercising that can differentiate depending on training goals and even gender.

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Study: Optimal Time for Exercise

A team of researchers from the Department of Health and Human Physiological Science’s Human Nutrition and Metabolism Laboratory at Skidmore College, Arizona State University’ College of Health Solutions, and California State University’s Department of Kinesiology sought to investigate the relationship between exercise and the time of day of which it is performed. 

Researchers were not able to arrive to any sound conclusions regarding the ideal exercise time of day and its effects on health and performance outcomes for women. Rather, results indicate that the answer may not be so simple. To perform the study, 30 “exercised trained women” and 26 men were randomly split into groups that either trained in the morning or evening for 12 weeks. 

To receive a baseline, researchers analyzed the following: “muscular strength (1-RM bench/leg press), endurance (sit-ups/push-ups) and power (squat jumps, SJ; bench throws, BT), body composition (iDXA; fat mass, FM; abdominal fat, Abfat), systolic/diastolic blood pressure (BP), respiratory exchange ratio (RER), profile of mood states (POMS), and dietary intake.”

In the end, 27 of the 30 women completed the 12-week trial to go along with 20 of the 26 men. For the group of women, researchers observed a significant difference between the morning and evening in these areas:

  • Bench press
  • Power exercises
  • Pushups
  • Fat mass
  • Abdominal fat
  • Blood pressure

Researchers saw even more substantial changes with the group of men, particularly in systolic blood pressure and fatigue. This is what the researchers concluded: 

Morning exercise (AM) reduced abdominal fat and blood pressure and evening exercise (PM) enhanced muscular performance in the women cohort. In the men cohort, PM increased fat oxidation and reduced systolic BP and fatigue. Thus, ETOD may be important to optimize individual exercise-induced health and performance outcomes in physically active individuals and may be independent of macronutrient intake.

Photo: Shutterstock.com/JLwarehouse

What It Means

If you are a woman and want to exercise to trim fat and lower blood pressure, you are best suited to work-out in the morning. On the other hand, exercising in the evening can help boost muscular performance. For men, it appears that evening exercise can enhance burning fat and lowering blood pressure while also combating fatigue. It is important to note that the study conducted was relatively small—each individual may find certain times for exercise that suit them best. Moreover, more data and studies would have to be conducted to conclude anything concretely. What does appear to be the case is that working out at different times can cater to specific goals one might have when exercising.

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Photo: Shutterstock.com/tsyhun

Other Exercise Tips

This article explores whether there is an “ideal time” for exercising. Remember that regardless of this, getting into the habit of working out can bring forth many benefits physically and even mentally. Just as little as ten minutes of daily exercise is beneficial, though it is best to develop a fitness routine if you can. Don’t forget to incorporate a healthy, nutritious diet to complement your work for optimal results and health!

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