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Morning or Evening Workout: Which Is Better? Does It Really Matter?

Science says that there is an ideal time to exercise depending on your sex. Confused? Read on to know more.

Published
Flex 'em
5 min read
Morning or Evening Workout: Which Is Better? Does It Really Matter?
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A recent study was published in Frontiers in Psychology to test the performance outcomes in separate cohorts of women and men adhering to different Ideal Exercise Time of The Day. We decided to delve deeper into the science behind this study, and here is what we found.

Some people wake up at the crack of dawn to put on their running shoes while others can't even fathom changing into their workout gear until five in the evening!

Then there are those who simply look for an hour in their busy day to squeeze in some alone time with their dumbells and treadmills.

This difference forces us to ask, whose workout would be more effective?

Does the time we exercise at, really matter that much? We were curious, so we asked a few experts.

Does an early morning workout really affects your performance level?

(Photo: iStock)

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A study states that the ideal exercise time of the day (ETOD) differs for men and women.

While mornings are a good time for women, men should work out during evenings for a better result, according to the study's findings.

What Does The Research Say?

  • 30 women and 26 men were recruited to be participants in this study.

  • All of them were between the ages of 25-55 years old.

  • They were all highly active, healthy, non-smoking and with a normal body weight.

Over a period of 12 weeks, a special training program titled RISE was initiated and, participants were made to follow a strict exercise regime.

Results Show Improved Health and Higher Efficacy

Both genders benefit from exercising but the ideal exercise time of the day (ETOD) determines the extent of that benefit, and when selected carefully, can help you gain the most out of your hard work, claims the study.
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The research claims a significant rise in the overall health of participants after following the strict exeercise regime. 

(Photo: iStock)

All the participants showed an improved well being, regardless of the time they exercised at.

However, men who worked out only in the evenings showed a reduced HDL cholesterol, blood pressure, respiratory exchange ratio and carbohydrate oxidation.

In contrast to that, women who worked out early in the AM, presented a greater fat loss from their abdominal, and hip region with a decreased blood pressure.

Experts' Advise

To have a deeper understanding of these claims, we contacted Dr Vivudh Pratap Singh, Senior Consultant ,Interventional Cardiology,Fortis Escorts Heart Institute, to hear what he has to say about the findings.

Dr Vivudh argued that the sample size of the study was too small to generalize their findings to a bigger population just yet.

The time frame of exercising was limited and thus, it would be too early to make a substantial statement.

He continued, 'A large study across countries would be more suitable but what has to be remembered is that regularity matters more than the timing. A 30-minute medium intensity workout on a regular basis at any time of the day would be highly beneficial for a person.'

"Regularity matters more than the time you workout at"
Dr Vivudh Pratap Singh, Interventional Cardiologist, Fortis Healthcare, New Delhi

Dr Amit Gupta, Consultant Cardiologist, Manipal Hospital, Gurugram had a similar opinion.

"A person exercising 5 times a week, would definitely see a more beneficial change in his health. By exercise, I mean any physical activity other than what he does at work," he says.

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Regular exercise can improve your cardiac health. 

(Photo:iStock)

Giving an insight into how the cholesterol levels are affected by regular exercise, he said that during the first few minutes of exercising, our muscles use glucose for energy supply.

Glucose cannot be stored and exhausts soon, so we shift to the next line of defence which is the deposited fats, or the fatty acids that we supply through cholesterol.

Our body makes use of these, affecting the adepose and lipid levels, lowering the LDL (bad cholesterol) and automatically, raising the ratio of HDL or good cholesterol out of the total.

Dr Amit also said that he does not believe there is one particular time that is more suitable for women or men to workout at.

However, he advises it is better to work out in the mornings since our body muscles are well rested leaving a person feeling fresher and more energised for the rest of the day, as compared to an end-of-the-day workout session.

Aditya Desai, a fitness trainer based in Bangalore (with more than four years of experience), stated that the ideal time to workout is a decision purely based on personal preference. A person will burn the same amount of fat at any time of the day, solely dependant on their calorie intake and output of the past 24 hours.

"There is no “one fit all” time that works. You can exercise/workout absolutely anytime from the time you wake up to the time you end your day," says Aditya Desai.
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Bottom Line

Doing workouts at your own pace, regularly, will show you a definite improvement in your health. 

(Photo: iStock)

Ergo, we can clearly say that your ideal time to workout would be the time YOU choose.

More than physiology, it is a matter of personal preference.

As for the study, we must remember that a large research, spanning across countries and communities is necessary to further explore and generalise the findings but for now, regularity takes precedence over all.

Now that we've answered those questions, what else are you waiting for?

Start making plans to workout whenever you want to, and let your body do the rest of the work. Focus on those endorphins and get, set, go!

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

Read and Breaking News at the Quint, browse for more from fit and flex-em

Topics:  Exercise   Metabolism   Research study 

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