There is a best time of day to exercise, according to science

There is a best time of day to exercise, according to science

Should you work out in the morning or evening? Depending on what your goals are, a new study might’ve made the decision for you.

In the world of fitness, it’s an age-old question: is it better to work out in the morning or evening, and is there even a difference? A new study out of the Mary MacKillop Institute for Health Research at Australian Catholic University says there is.

If you’re looking to improve overall metabolic health, researchers found that evening exercise was more powerful than morning workouts.

Now, the study only examined sedentary, already overweight men, but it adds to growing research that timing matters when it comes to our workouts.

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24 participants were recruited and tested on their cholesterol, blood-sugar control, aerobic fitness and other aspects of their health. They were then asked about their eating habits and were set up to have meals, containing about 65 percent fat, delivered to their homes.

The reason for the meals’ high-fat content is so researchers could examine exercise timing and its effects on fat metabolism, as well as blood-sugar control.

The 24 were split into three groups: one exercising at 6.30am, one at 6.30pm, and the control group remained sedentary, with otherwise identical programs every day for five days.

After five days, scientists found that the men’s cholesterol had increased, especially in its unhealthiest form, low-density lipoprotein or LDL. This collects in the walls of your blood vessels.

Those of the group who exercised in the morning demonstrated that AM workouts did little to lessen those effects, but those who worked out in the evening showed lower cholesterol, improved heart health, and developed better blood-sugar control.

“Applying circadian or time of day principles to exercise training may augment the potency of exercise,” the authors wrote.

Scientists still aren’t sure why this is the case, and they conclude their research by saying what we already know to be true: that any exercise at any time of day is better than none at all.