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Should you be training at a certain time of day?

For many, exercise usually fits in around family and work commitments and the benefits are far reaching, but does the time of day have an impact on training effectiveness?

A randomised control trial looked at whether morning or evening exercise was more effective for improvements in aerobic performance, muscular endurance, flexibility, balance, upper and lower body strength, and power. The trial also observed differences across both male and female genders. Both cohorts underwent a 12-week comprehensive exercise training programme consisting of resistance, intervals, stretching, endurance exercises.

The results of the study offered interesting insights into how populations groups may gravitate to a particular training schedule with specific training outcomes.

# In the female cohort, those that exercised in the morning had greater reductions in total fat mass and blood pressure, as well as increased lower body muscle power.

# Women who exercised in the evening had significantly greater gains in upper body muscle strength, power and endurance, as well as tendency to improve mood and greater satisfaction.

# In the male cohort, those that trained in the evening achieved a greater reduction in systolic blood pressure, feelings of fatigue and increased fat oxidation when compared to morning exercisers.

This study highlights the differences between males and female when training at different times of day. The association between exercising at a certain time of day and circadian regulation has a marked impact on cardiometabolic state, body composition, and physical performance outcomes.

Arciero, P.J. et al. (2022). Morning exercise reduces abdominal fat and blood pressure; evening exercise increases muscular performance in women and lowers blood pressure in men. Frontiers in Physiology. 893783.


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