New insights on exercise timing: Why PM workouts might benefit those with obesity

Many of us strive to lead healthier lives — and exercise is often a key component of that journey. However, recent research suggests that the timing of our workouts could play a significant role, especially for those dealing with obesity.

In a study published in Diabetes Care, researchers explored how the timing of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) might affect individuals with obesity. They focused on two distinct periods: morning (AM) and afternoon/evening (PM).

The study involved 375 participants with obesity who wore accelerometers to track their physical activity levels throughout the day. 

The researchers found that people who engaged in MVPA during the afternoon or evening tended to have lower body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference than those who exercised in the morning [1].

These findings shed light on the potential benefits of PM workouts for individuals struggling with obesity. While the exact reasons behind this phenomenon are unclear, the researchers speculate that our body’s internal clock, known as the circadian rhythm, could contribute.

The circadian rhythm influences various physiological processes, including metabolism and energy expenditure. Research suggests that these processes might be more conducive to exercise in the afternoon or evening, making PM workouts more effective for weight management in obese individuals [2].

Similarly, exercising later in the day could have psychological benefits as well. Many people find it easier to stick to an exercise routine when they do it after work or other daily commitments.

This consistency can lead to long-term adherence to physical activity, crucial for achieving and maintaining a healthy weight.

Yet, it’s essential to note that the timing of exercise isn’t the only factor at play. The type and intensity of physical activity and other lifestyle factors like diet and sleep also influence weight management.

However, these findings offer valuable insights for individuals looking to optimize their exercise routines, especially those with obesity. Incorporating PM workouts into their daily schedule could be a simple yet effective strategy for improving their health and wellbeing [3].

As with any scientific study, further research is needed to confirm these findings and explore the underlying mechanisms in more detail. Additionally, personalized approaches to exercise timing and other lifestyle interventions may be necessary to address the unique needs of individuals with obesity.

The timing of exercise matters, particularly for those with obesity. Engaging in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity during the afternoon or evening could be more beneficial for weight management than morning workouts. 

[1] https://diabetesjournals.org/care/article/47/5/890/154403/Timing-of-Moderate-to-Vigorous-Physical-Activity
[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6348200/
[3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6378489/

Photograph: NomadSoul1/Envato
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