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Exercising in the morning may be the best way to lose weight, study says

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If your main fitness goal is to lose weight, you may want to consider the time of day you exercise. A new study offers clues that could help you maximize your efforts.

According to one study, exercising between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. was associated with lower waist circumference and body mass index than people who exercised at midday or in the evening. study published on Tuesday in the journal Obésité.

“This is exciting new research that is consistent with common advice for meeting exercise goals, which is to plan to exercise in the morning before you get distracting emails, phone calls or meetings,” said Rebecca Krukowski. , clinical psychologist specializing in behavior. weight control who was not involved in the study, in a news release.

Other researchers have previously reported positive links between moderate to vigorous physical activity and weight loss. However, results on the best time to exercise for weight loss are mixed. Therefore, the authors of the latest study examined what influence Performing activity at different times could affect the relationship between exercise and obesity.

The authors studied health and activity data from 5,285 people who participated in the 2003 to 2006 waves of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. (The researchers chose these specific years because that was when accelerometers or activity trackers were first used in the survey).

After participants recorded their BMI and waist circumference, they wore activity trackers on their right hip during waking hours for 10 hours or more each day for four to seven days.

Those who exercised in the morning (between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m.) had an average BMI of 27.5, compared to those who exercised midday and evening, who had an average BMI of 28.3 . Lunch was defined as between 9:00 and 16:00 and evening between 17:00 and 20:00. The average waist circumference, adjusted for diet quality and calorie intake, was 96 centimeters (37.7 in), 97.8 centimeters (38.5 in), and 97.5 centimeters (38.4 in). ). ), respectively.

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These results are valid regardless of gender, ethnicity, education, smoking, alcohol consumption, or sedentary behavior. What’s more, even among people who met all physical activity guidelines (at least 150 minutes per week), achieving this goal in the morning was associated with lower BMI and waist circumference.

“This research added valuable evidence based on a national sample of participants in the United States, something that has never been done before on the topic of exercise timing and weight loss,” said the study’s lead author, research assistant Dr. Tongyu Ma. professor of rehabilitation sciences at Hong Kong Polytechnic University, via email.

However, participants’ BMI and waist circumference were measured before the activity monitoring period and were not measured again afterward. Therefore, the authors were unable to demonstrate that morning exercise had a direct impact on any of the measures.

Ma plans to conduct more studies to confirm the findings and determine whether there is a causal relationship between exercising in the morning and having a smaller BMI and waist circumference, he said.

According to experts, the reasons behind these results could be related to both physiology and lifestyle habits.

Because of the study design, “it’s not clear whether people who exercise regularly in the morning may be systematically different from those who exercise at other times, in ways that were not measured in this study,” said Krukowski, a health professor. public. sciences and co-director of the Community Health Equity Center at the University of Virginia School of Medicine.

“People who exercise regularly in the morning may have more predictable schedules, for example, by being less likely to work shifts or have caregiving responsibilities that interfere with morning exercise,” he added. “Predictable schedules could have other beneficial effects on weight that were not measured in this study, such as sleep duration (or) quality and stress levels.”

Additionally, experts say that morning people may be biologically different from night owls.

According to previous studies, the authors note, people who exercise in the morning are more likely to consume fewer daily calories and passively expend more energy when not exercising. This may seem counterintuitive, but this trend likely occurs because exercising on an empty stomach in the morning means the body relies on stored fat for energy rather than glucose stored in food. This may mean that early risers’ bodies are better equipped to increase fat oxidation or burning, both during exercise and the next day, even if they are sedentary after training.

In the latest study, morning exercisers were the most sedentary, even though they had the lowest BMI and waist circumference.

“Personally, I like this because it tells me that as long as I exercise in the morning, I can sit in my office and focus on my work for the rest of the day without worrying about weight gain,” Ma said via email.

Greater weight loss may also result from more focused or structured exercise, the authors said, another trend they found among the morning group.

If you can fit it in, “early morning aerobic exercise, such as biking, running or even brisk walking to start, is a promising tool for losing weight,” Ma said. “In fact, most people are more likely to of people stick to a morning exercise routine instead of a midday or evening one.”

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