Are You a Morning or Evening Exerciser? And Does it Matter?
I couldn’t tell you if my brain is at its optimum logical state at 05.30am as I make my way to my Bootcamp Tring session on Wednesdays, but I know that early starts do spark some ‘random’ thoughts…
It is while I was in that frame of mind recently that an issue which has intrigued me for some time sprung to mind:
“Do women train better in the morning and men in the evening – or vice versa?”
To be perfectly honest this particular question didn’t just float into my consciousness unannounced but was prompted by an online article from the BBC which I scanned briefly.
Apparently, a study undertaken in the USA has indicated that men and women may actually benefit differently according to the time of day at which they exercise. Although exercise is good for all of us whenever we do it, the best result for a man may be achieved at a different time in the day to that for a woman.
The findings showed that morning exercise for women resulted in more body fat being burned. Alternatively, exercising in the evening was more beneficial fat burning-wise for men.
Quite reasonably, the researchers suggest that differences in hormones, biological clocks and sleep-wake cycles between the sexes may also play a part in the outcomes.
The 12-week programme saw improvements in the participants’ overall health and performance irrespective of the times at which they exercised, but there was sufficient data elicited to allow a conclusion that women who are aiming to reduce body fat around their middle and seeking to reduce their blood pressure should try to exercise in the morning.
On the other hand, women trying to develop stronger muscles in their upper body and improve their overall mood and food intake should exercise in the evening.
However, as far as the men were concerned, the time of day for their exercise was not so crucial. They could improve their strength either in the morning or the evening without any significant difference in result. But, if the men were looking to improve heart and metabolic health as well as emotional wellbeing, then evening exercise yielded the most beneficial results.
Needless to say, the authors of the study say more research is needed to find out why the timing of the exercises created such a difference in results between men and women.
Can we draw any meaningful conclusion from this?
Maybe the most obvious deduction is what we already know: whatever the time of day you exercise, it is the best time for you. Certainly for me – as long as I get it done, I feel great!
Frontiers in Physiology original article:Frontiers | Morning Exercise Reduces Abdominal Fat and Blood Pressure in Women; Evening Exercise Increases Muscular Performance in Women and Lowers Blood Pressure in Men | Physiology (frontiersin.org)