Optimal Timing for Exercise: Evening Workouts Linked to Lower Mortality Risk

Thu 16th May, 2024

Image by Engin Akyurt from PixabayIt's well-known that regular physical activity promotes good health, but the debate over the best time of day to exercise has been ongoing. A new study published in the Diabetes Journal offers insights that may finally settle this discussion. Researchers from Australia have investigated how the timing of exercise affects mental and physical health, particularly in individuals with obesity.

Exercise is widely recognized for its numerous health benefits, including alleviating depression and anxiety, enhancing sleep quality, boosting cognitive functions, and improving memory. However, the study sought to determine how exercise timing influences these benefits, especially for those who are overweight.

The study examined the impact of exercise timing on the risk of cardiovascular disease, microvascular complications, and overall mortality. The research involved a cohort of 29,836 obese adults, with an average age of 62.2 years. Over a median follow-up period of 7.9 years, there were 1,425 deaths, 3,980 instances of cardiovascular disease, and 2,162 cases of microvascular disease.

The findings revealed that moderate exercise in the evening was associated with the lowest risk of death. Although morning and afternoon exercise also offered significant health benefits, their effects were comparatively less pronounced.

Why Evening Exercise is Particularly Beneficial

The study suggests that exercising in the evening may be especially advantageous for individuals with diabetes or obesity, as blood sugar levels tend to peak during this time. Engaging in physical activity in the evening can help mitigate these spikes in blood sugar levels, thereby enhancing health outcomes.

These results indicate that the timing of exercise could be crucial in managing obesity and type 2 diabetes, as well as in preventive healthcare. However, the researchers call for further studies to confirm these causal relationships.

WHO Recommendations on Physical Activity

The World Health Organization (WHO) advises all adults, irrespective of age and gender, to engage in at least 150 to 300 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous exercise each week. The new study emphasizes the importance of regular physical activity for health and suggests that evening exercise might be particularly beneficial for managing obesity and type 2 diabetes.

The research underscores that while all forms of physical activity are beneficial, the timing of exercise might play a significant role in optimizing health outcomes for those at risk of certain conditions.

Image by Engin Akyurt from Pixabay


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