The timing of your daily workouts may affect your longevity

Though all exercise is beneficial, there is growing evidence that the benefits may depend on timing. Scientists believe the timing of a workout is important, as the body’s biological processes are regulated by the circadian rhythm. When it comes to longevity, exercising in the early afternoon may offer the best chances of evading early death, new findings suggest.

There appears to be increasing interest in the role of exercise timing on health, but studies have failed to draw firm conclusions about the optimal timing of physical activity.

Now a new study, published in Nature Communications, suggests exercising in the afternoon may offer benefits that can’t be attained in the morning.

The study was performed on more than 92,000 participants of the UK Biobank.

Researchers made several note-worthy observations after analysing data from activity trackers worn by volunteers for a week.

Using this data, the subjects were split into groups depending on when and how often they exercised.

Unsurprisingly, they found that “moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity at any time of the day is associated with lower risks for all-cause cardiovascular disease and cancer mortality”.

The findings also appeared to suggest that later workouts may maximise the health benefits of exercise.

More specifically, scientists uncovered a link between afternoon workouts and longevity.

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People who engaged in exercise between 11:00 am to 5:00 pm were less likely to succumb to heart disease than people who exercised at other times of the day.

“These protective associations are more pronounced among the elderly, males, less physically active participants, or those with preexisting cardiovascular disease,” noted the authors.

“Here, we show that moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity timing may have the potential to improve public health,” they concluded.

Based on past research, scientists explained that the body’s ability to perform peaks in the afternoon.

Equally, the body temperature rises throughout the day which optimises muscle function and strength.

With increased body temperature, enzyme activity and endurance for performance are also boosted.

Though the latest findings present a strong case for exercising in the afternoon, the optimal timing for any exercise regime depends on a person’s goals.

Recent findings by the Karolinska Institute and the University of Copenhagen found that morning exercise increases fat metabolism.

The research in mice suggested that a morning exercise routine may also have a favourable effect on blood pressure.

The scientists noted that exercise at different times of the day can affect the body in different ways since biological processes depend on the circadian rhythms of the cells.

Professor Juleen R. Zierath, from the Department of Molecular Medicine and Surgery at the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, Karolinska Institutet said that getting the timing of exercise right is important.

The researcher noted: “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.”

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