People who are unable to get up at 6 am but can work out during lunch can rejoice! New research shows that exercise done in the afternoon may be more effective than nighttime or morning workouts at reducing early death.
Nature Communications published the research on February 18, 2018. It included 92,000 participants and data from a UK biomedical base. The participants were recorded by accelerometers for seven days. They also tracked their exercise and hours.
Researchers analyzed mortality statistics over several years and found that more than 3,000 people (or 3%) had died. Approximately 1,000 of these deaths were due to heart disease, and 1,800 to cancer.
People who exercised in the morning and evening had a lower chance of dying from heart disease or other causes. People who changed their exercise routines or used “mixed” workout times saw no change in their results. Mid-afternoon was defined as between 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Evening exercises occurred between 5 and midnight and morning between 5 and 11 a.m.
Older men with heart disease and who are less active were more likely than those without it to have a lower chance of dying from heart disease. The study also found that any time of day was better than none for physical activity. A lower chance of dying from cancer and heart disease was found when moderate to vigorous exercise is done at all times of the day. This was true regardless of the time you exercise.
Is morning exercise better?
Morning exercise has more benefits than afternoon workouts. Researchers disagree with the notion that afternoon is the best time to exercise.
One small study last year showed that morning exercise helps women reduce belly fat and keeps their blood pressure in check. However, afternoon exercise was found to increase muscular strength and be mood-lifting. The best time to exercise is dependent on your goals.
Morning workouts have a better reputation than afternoon routines because they are easier to keep up. A study found that exercising in the morning is more effective for weight loss than doing it after work or after lunch.
Are there benefits to exercising at night?
A 2020 study with 32 participants who had type 2 diabetes found that exercising at night helped to regulate blood sugar levels. Another study in 2021 showed that exercising at night is more effective in controlling blood sugar and lowering “bad” cholesterol than morning exercise.
Research repeatedly showed that no matter what time or how long it takes, any exercise routine is better for your longevity and decreasing your risk of developing chronic diseases. Exercises can improve your mood, reduce blood pressure, enhance your memory and extend your life.