June 14, 2024

Exercising in the evening may have specific health benefits, especially for weight issues


PARIS, April 11 — While the benefits of physical activity are well established, there remains debate on the subject of when the best time to exercise is. A new Australian study weighs in on the subject, claiming that exercising at the end of the day is particularly beneficial for overweight and obese people.

The authors of this research, published in the journal Diabetes Care, came to this conclusion after analysing the health data of 30,000 overweight and obese people over the age of 40 for eight years. Some of them had been previously diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

The researchers classified the participants into three categories according to the time of day during which they were physically active (morning, afternoon, evening). They paid particular attention to any moderate to vigorous physical activity, performed for at least three minutes at a time, because of its proven association with better glucose regulation and reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.

“We didn’t discriminate on the kind of activity we tracked, it could be anything from power walking to climbing the stairs, but could also include structured exercise such as running, occupational labour or even vigorously cleaning the house,” said first author Dr Matthew Ahmadi in a press release.

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After taking into account factors such as age, gender, smoking habits and fruit and vegetable consumption, the researchers found that subjects who exercised late in the day, between 6pm and midnight, had the lowest risk of premature death and cardiovascular disease.

The findings of this study pave the way for the potential crafting of new therapeutic advice for overweight and obese adults. “Exercise is by no means the only solution to the obesity crisis, but this research does suggest that people who can plan their activity into certain times of the day may best offset some of these health risks,” noted Dr Angelo Sabag, co-author, in the same press release.

Interestingly, a study published in 2023 in the journal Obesity states that it’s better to exercise at the start of the day. Exercising between 7am and 9am supports optimal weight management, that research found. However, that study involved a smaller panel of participants than the one appearing in the journal Diabetes Care, and has certain methodological limitations.

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Despite this divergence, both studies are part of a growing body of scientific work attesting to the importance of physical activity in the care of overweight and obese people. It is estimated that over a billion people worldwide are obese. In just over 30 years, the obesity rate has more than doubled for adults, and quadrupled for children and adolescents, according to a vast study on the subject, published on March 1 in the Lancet. The World Health Organisation (WHO) recognises overweight and obesity as the fifth leading cause of death worldwide, making it a priority for medical research. — ETX Studio



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