If you’re on your to-do list this year, make sure to take notes on the best time of the day to exercise. A new study compared two groups of men at high risk for type 2 diabetes and found that the group who did the exercise in the afternoon improved their metabolic health far better than the group who did the same exercise in the morning.
To test whether the timing of exercise affects long-term exercise in metabolic health, 32 60- to 70-year-old men were studied, with twelve men assigned to the morning exercise group and twenty to the afternoon exercise group. The volunteers were then placed in an aerobics and resistance training program for 12 weeks, three sessions per week.
The researchers found that not only did men who exercised in the afternoon improved their skeletal muscles and insulin sensitivity in adipose tissue, but also had greater reductions in fat mass and better exercise performance compared to the morning exercise group.
While the study doesn’t explain why this phenomenon occurs, Dr. Patrick Schrauwen of the New York Times that this could be because afternoon exercise helps metabolize people’s last meals before bed and keeps our bodies in an sober state while sleeping, which helps keep body clocks and metabolism in sync .
Similarly, a 2019 study found that men with type 2 diabetes were able to improve their blood sugar control after doing just a few minutes of vigorous interval exercise in the afternoon. When asked to do the same exercise in the morning, the workout actually backfired and caused their blood sugar levels to spike.
In Hong Kong, diabetes was the 10th leading cause of death, accounting for one percent of all registered deaths in 2018. According to the Ministry of Health, a balanced diet, regular exercise and excessive alcohol consumption are recommended to prevent diabetes.
The next time you plan your workout, remember to put it in for the afternoon – better safe than sorry, right?
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