When it comes to achieving your fitness goals and losing weight, the timing of your workouts could make a difference.
A study, published in the journal Obesity, showed that exercising in the morning could potentially result in a lower body mass index and slimmer waistline when compared to midday or evening exercise routines.
People who engaged in morning workouts, specifically between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m., had an average body mass index (BMI) of 27.5, while those who exercised during midday (9 a.m. to 4 p.m.) and in evening hours (5 p.m. to 8 p.m.) had an average BMI of 28.3.
The results remained consistent irrespective of the gender, ethnicity, educational background, tobacco or alcohol use and sedentary behavior (activities that involve minimal physical movement) of the participants.
Researchers collected health and activity data from 5,285 people who took part in a National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) from 2003 to 2006. The timeframe was selected because it marked the initial usage of accelerometers, or activity trackers, in surveys.
After assessing the participants’ initial BMI and waist circumference, they were asked to wear activity trackers for a duration of ten hours or more per day for four to seven days.
It was observed that those who did exercises in the morning exhibited the lowest BMI and waist size even though all participants met the recommended physical activity guidelines of a minimum of 150 minutes per week.
Rebecca Krukowski, a clinical psychologist who specializes in behavioral weight management, highlighted the advantage of scheduling morning workouts to avoid distractions from emails, calls or meetings.
“People who exercise regularly in the morning could have more predictable schedules, such as being less likely to be shift workers or less likely to have caregiving responsibilities that impede morning exercise,” Krukowski, who was not part of the study, told CNN. “Predictable schedules could have other advantageous effects on weight that were not measured in this study, such as with sleep length (or) quality and stress levels.”
The research team could not establish a direct cause-and-effect relationship between morning exercise and changes in the measurements. It was because the participants’ BMI and waist size were measured only before the activity tracking period, but not afterward.
Lead study author Tongyu Ma, a research assistant professor of rehabilitation sciences at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, said the team would do more research to identify potential links between morning workouts and reduced BMI and waist size to further solidify the findings.
Published by Medicaldaily.com