The best time of day to exercise has long been debated. Not everyone works out for the same reasons. Some people exercise to improve their overall strength, while others exercise to improve their mood. However, according to a new study, the best time to exercise for men and women would not be the same.
Professor Paul J. Arciero, lead author of the study and professor at Skidmore College’s Health and Human Physiological Sciences Department, discovered The best time to exercise differed for men and women, and there were optimal times of day for achieving specific exercise goals. Its researchers followed the benefits of exercise in a group of 30 women and 26 men who were assigned to exercise in the morning (between 6:00 and 8:00 a.m.) or in the evening (between 6:30 and 8:30 p.m.).
All participants were between the ages of 25 and 55, were healthy, non-smokers, athletically trained, and followed a designed healthy meal plan with similar intake. The researchers measured a variety of outcomes, including muscular strength, endurance, and power, body composition, systolic/diastolic blood pressure, respiratory exchange ratio, mood states, and dietary intake. After the 12-week trial, all participants improved in all areas. However, the nature of the enhancements varied.
Women who exercised in the morning lost more total fat and abdominal fat, had lower blood pressure, and increased lower body muscle power; women who exercised in the evening gained more upper body muscle strength, mood, and satiety. In men, the effect was less pronounced. Men who exercised at any time of day improved their physical performance; men who exercised in the evening saw improvements in their heart and metabolic health, as well as less fatigue.
According to the researchers, the study could help people decide when they should exercise during the day based on their gender or what they hope to gain from it. However, it is important to note that this is far from conclusive, and to not forget that regular exercise is essential regardless of the time of day.