People live longer if they train in the afternoon, study finds

Those who can’t wake up early, but exercise at lunchtime, can celebrate! A new study says your mid-afternoon workouts may reduce your chances of premature death more than morning or evening workouts. The research, released Feb. 18 in Nature Communications, examined 92,000 individuals and their demographic and health information from a UK biomedical database. The accelerometers recorded the participants for seven days and tracked when and how hard they exercised.
Over several years, researchers examined mortality statistics and found that more than 3,000 (or 3%) of the participants had died, with approximately 1,000 succumbing to heart disease and 1,800 to cancer.

Compared with individuals who exercise in the evening and in the morning, people who exercise in the mid-afternoon have a lower risk of early death, both from heart disease and in general. The results remained the same for those who frequently changed the times of their exercise routine and had “mixed” exercise schedules. Mid-afternoon was described as occurring between 11:00 and 17:00 Night training took place between 17:00 and midnight and morning training between 5:00 and 11:00
Elderly men who were less active and already had heart disease were more likely to experience reduced risk of death from heart disease when they exercised in the afternoon. Even more important, the study found that any time for physical activity was preferable to none. Moderate to vigorous physical activity at any time of the day resulted in a lower risk of death from heart disease and cancer. Furthermore, the lower risk of dying from cancer persisted across all exercise times.

Exercising in the morning has advantages over exercising in the afternoon. Regarding the afternoon as the “best time” to exercise, the researchers disagreed.

A small study from last year found that morning exercise helped women reduce belly fat and kept their blood pressure in check. On the other hand, the afternoon exercises increased muscle strength and turned out to be a mood elevator. This suggests that the best time to exercise depends on your goals.

The morning workout routine has a better reputation because many find that morning routines are simpler to maintain. According to a study, starting to exercise in the morning may be more beneficial for weight loss than exercising after 3pm or in the afternoon.

Exercising in the afternoon or evening also has advantages.

A small 2020 study that had 32 subjects as participants with type 2 diabetes found that midday exercise helped them with more regulated blood sugar. What’s more, another 2021 study found that working out in the evening may be more effective at lowering “bad” cholesterol and regulating blood sugar levels than morning exercise.

Regardless of timing and duration, research has repeatedly emphasized that any fitness routine and schedule is preferable to increasing your lifespan and reducing your chance of developing chronic disease. Workouts are known to elevate your mood, lower your blood pressure, improve your memory, and thus prolong your life.

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