People who can’t wake up early but work out during lunch hour can celebrate! A new study says that your mid-afternoon exercises may cut the chances of early death more than morning or nighttime workouts. The research, released on February 18 in Nature Communications, examined 92,000 individuals and their demographic and health information from a UK biomedical database. Accelerometers recorded the participants for seven days and tracked when and how hard they worked out.
Over several years, researchers examined mortality statistics and discovered that over 3,000 (or 3%) of the participants had passed away, with approximately 1,000 succumbing to heart disease and 1,800 to cancer.
Compared to individuals who exercise in the evening and morning, people who worked out in the mid-afternoon had a lower risk of early death, both from heart disease and generally. The results remained the same for those who frequently changed the timings of their workout routine and had “mixed” exercise times. Mid-afternoon was described as occurring between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. Evening workouts happened between 5 p.m. and midnight, and morning between 5 a.m. and 11 a.m.
The elderly men who were less active and already had heart disease were more likely to experience the reduced risk of heart disease death when they worked out in the afternoon. Yet more crucially, the study found that any timing for physical activity was preferable than none. Moderate to vigorous physical activity at any time of day resulted in a lower risk of dying from heart disease and cancer. Not only this, the lower risk of dying from cancer persisted across all exercise times.
Exercise in the morning has advantages over working out in the afternoon. Regarding afternoon as the “best time” to work out, researchers have disagreed.
A small study from last year found that morning exercise helped women in reducing belly fat and kept their blood pressure in tune. On the other hand, afternoon exercises enhanced muscular strength and turned out to be a mood lifter. This suggests that the best time to exercise depends on your goals.
Workout routine in the morning has a better reputation because many consider that morning routines are simpler to maintain. According to a study, getting on with your fitness in the morning may be more beneficial for weight loss than exercising after 3pm or afternoon.
Exercising in the afternoon or evening also offers advantages.
A small 2020 study that had 32 individuals as participants with type 2 diabetes discovered that midday exercise helped them with a more regulated blood sugar. Additionally, another study from 2021 found that working out at night may be more effective in lowering “bad” cholesterol and regulating blood sugar levels than morning exercise.
Regardless of the timing and duration, research repeatedly emphasized that any fitness routine and time is preferable for increasing your lifespan and reducing your chance of developing chronic diseases. Workouts are known to elevate your mood, lower your blood pressure, enhancing your memory, and thus, extending your life.