Looking to maximise your exercise?
Scientists have found what may very well be the very best time to get moving – if your fitness goal is to maintain a healthy weight.
A study in mice, which was conducted by researchers at the Karolinska Institutet and the University of Copenhagen, found that physical activity at a certain time of day increased fat metabolism.
And sorry to the night owls out there, but that time was the morning.
The mice that exercised in an early active phase – their late morning, essentially – increased their metabolism more than their counterparts who exercised at a time when they’d usually rest.
Professor Juleen Zierath, from Karolinska Institutet, Sweden, said: ‘The right timing seems to be important to the body’s energy balance and to improving the health benefits of exercise, but more studies are needed to draw any reliable conclusions about the relevance of our findings to humans.’
Researchers said their results could be down to circadian rhythms – AKA, the 24-hour cycle that is part of the body’s internal clock – of the cells.
They studied the body fat of mice after a high-intensity exercise session on a treadmill at two different times of day.
They did these tests during an early active phase and early rest phase – keeping in mind the fact that mice are nocturnal, this was essentially their version of a late morning and late evening workout session.
The results showed that exercise during this early active phase increased the expression of genes involved in the breakdown of fat tissue, heat production, and cells in the fat tissue that indicate a higher metabolic rate.
This all happened independently of the food they ate.
Interestingly, these results correspond with a study from last year that also found morning exercise to have the strongest impact when it comes to fat and blood pressure – and that one was done on humans. These results were particularly prevalent in women.
However, according to those findings, muscle-building was more effective with evening workouts, which also helped improve mood and wellbeing.
The time of day men exercised also appeared to have less of an impact on them.
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