Best time to exercise is different for men and women, study says

Best time to exercise is different for men and women, study says

Exercise is good for you at any time of day, but the time to get the best results varies between women and men, according to a US study.

Research states that women burn more body fat during morning exercise and men at night. Differences in hormones, biological clocks and sleep cycles between the sexes can influence calorie burning.

So far, much of what is known about this topic is based on studies with only men, the researchers point out.

The study of 30 men and 26 women — all active and healthy, and between the ages of 25 and 55 — lasted 12 weeks and monitored the effects of a varied fitness program, which included stretching, running and resistance training.

One group exercised for an hour before 8:30 am, while the other group followed the same activities in the evening, between 6 pm and 8 pm. All participants followed a special meal plan.

The researchers tested everyone’s blood pressure and body fat throughout the study, as well as their flexibility, strength and aerobic power at the beginning and end.

Over the course of the 12-week trial, everyone saw improvement in their overall health and performance, regardless of when they exercised.

“The best time to exercise is the one that fits into your schedule,” says Paul Arcerio, lead author of the study and professor of Health and Human Physiological Sciences at Skidmore College in New York.

Sooner or later?

Based on the results of the studies, women are advised to exercise in the morning to more effectively reduce waist fat and blood pressure, says Arcerio.

However, he says that women trying to improve upper body muscle strength, as well as general mood and food intake, should do nighttime exercise.

The men who participated in the study are less sensitive to the time of day they exercise. But workouts to increase physical strength work best in the morning and at night.

Nighttime exercise was deemed “ideal for men interested in improving heart and metabolic health as well as emotional well-being,” says Arcerio.

Improving metabolic health means reducing the risk of diseases like obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

It’s unclear exactly why men’s and women’s responses to exercise were so different. Now, the researchers say more research is needed to deepen knowledge on the topic.

They say that women can burn more body fat in the morning because they are more likely to have excess belly fat. The internal rhythms of the body can also influence the process.

The study, published in Frontiers in Physiology, monitored people with a healthy weight, but the researchers say the result could also show up in people who are overweight or obese.

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