By John Salak –
No one is arguing against the benefits of exercise. But the trick to getting a substantial return on a sweat-busting workout may rest on more than just how much exercise is involved, but rather when it is done.
A new study suggests that morning workouts may increase fat metabolism at a greater rate than at other times of the day. If the research is sound, this means a late-morning workout is one of the best ways to ditch the pudge compared to other times.
The research by Karolinska Institutet in Sweden and the University of Copenhagen in Denmark specifically examined the impact of morning exercise on mice, which corresponds to morning workouts in humans. The study found that these early workouts increased their metabolism more than in mice that exercised at a time when they usually rest.
It was already established that the human body responds differently to physical activity at different times of the day because biological processes depend on the circadian rhythms of the cells. The Swedish-Danish research leveraged this base knowledge to determine if exercise timing impacted the body’s ability to burn fat and lose weight by studying fat metabolism makers in mice after morning and evening periods of high-intensity exercise.
Good Morning Workouts
The research discovered that physical activity in the morning increased the expression of genes involved in the breakdown of adipose tissue, thermogenesis (heat production) and mitochondria in the adipose tissue, indicating a higher metabolic rate. Evening exercise, while still beneficial, did not yield the same impact on metabolic rates.
“Our results suggest that late morning exercise could be more effective than late evening exercise in terms of boosting the metabolism and the burning of fat, and if this is the case, they could prove of value to people who are overweight,” reported Professor Juleen R. Zierath of the Karolinska Institutet.
While the research focused on mice, the results stand to have profound insights for men and women since mice and humans share many basic physiological functions. However, the research team also indicated one important provision that may play into the results. Mice are nocturnal, humans are not.
“The right timing seems to be important to the body’s energy balance and to improving the health benefits of exercise, but more studies are needed to draw any reliable conclusions about the relevance of our findings to humans,” explained Zierath.
In the meantime, a good morning workout is still a good idea and a possible weight-busting winner.