Finding time throughout the day to fit in a quick workout is tough enough. But it turns out that going before or after work is also affecting how your body responds to your solid sweat sesh.
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Findings published in Cell Metabolism suggest that the health benefits of exercise differ depending on the time you get your heart rate up.
Scientists from the University of Copenhagen and the University of California, Irvine found that mice who exercised in the morning saw the cells in their muscles better process fat and sugar. Meanwhile, those who got moving at night burnt more calories for longer periods of time.
“There appears to be rather significant differences between the effect of exercise performed in the morning and evening, and these differences are probably controlled by the body’s circadian clock,” says co-author Jonas Thue Treebak, who is also an associate professor from the Novo Nordisk Foundation Centre for Basic Metabolic Research.
“Morning exercise initiates gene programs in the muscle cells, making them more effective and better capable of metabolising sugar and fat. Evening exercise, on the other hand, increases whole body energy expenditure for an extended period of time."
Study authors suggest that this could be relevant in helping people who are severely overweight or suffer from type-2 diabetes to get the most out of the workouts.
“On this basis we cannot say for certain which is best, exercise in the morning or exercise in the evening,” says Treebak.
“At this point, we can only conclude that the effects of the two appear to differ, and we certainly have to do more work to determine the potential mechanisms for the beneficial effects of exercise training performed at these two time-points.”