Early Morning Workouts Impact Weight and Health

The best time of day to exercise appears to be between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m., despite epidemiological research supporting the best timing of physical activity for weight control being contentious.

Findings published in the journal Obesity indicate that earlier studies concentrated on physical exercise's quantity, quality, and duration. Few studies have examined the daily pattern of physical activity recorded by accelerometers to categorize the time of day when people move. Whether increasing physical activity at various times of the day is similarly connected with obesity is unknown.

Our study provided a novel tool to explore the diurnal pattern of physical activity and to investigate its impact on health outcomes.

- Tongyu Ma, corresponding author

Furthermore, it's not apparent if achieving the physical activity recommendations — 150 minutes per week of moderate to strenuous activity — in various ways has the same positive effects on lowering obesity.

Physical activity and its effects

In the current study, researchers investigated whether the connection between such human movement and obesity is affected by the daily pattern of accelerometer-measured moderate to intense physical activity.

A total of 5,285 individuals in the research were cross-sectionally assessed.

The study divided the daily pattern of moderate to strenuous physical activity into three groups: morning, midday, and evening. The morning group showed a significant linear link between moderate to intense physical activity and obesity, but the midday and evening groups showed a less curved association.

The body mass index and waist circumference of participants in the morning cluster who met the physical activity recommendations were lower than those in the other groups.

Participants in the morning cluster had a better diet. According to self-reported food recall, they consumed less daily energy per unit of body weight than those in the other clusters.

The reduced body mass index and waist circumference results in the morning group. The morning cluster's members were generally 10 to 13 years older than those in the other two groups. Among the three groups, the morning cluster likewise contained the majority of female participants.

Most participants in the morning session were non-Hispanic white, had a college degree or higher, and didn't smoke or drink alcohol.

The team concluded: "Our findings propose that the diurnal pattern of moderate to vigorous physical activity could be another important dimension to describe the complexity of human movement."


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