Tech & Science

When Is the Best Time to Work Out for Weight Loss and Better Sleep?

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Exercising in the morning could help lower blood pressure, according to one study. AFP PHOTO / Anthony Wallace

We don’t need to tell you that exercise is healthy, but there is some evidence that the benefits vary depending on the time of day you hit the gym. For example, you may burn more fat after a morning workout, according to one study. But is there actually a right time to focus on fitness?

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Research indicates no—morning and night both have benefits. Here’s a look at why.

Benefits of Being an Early Bird

In 2011, researchers from Appalachian State University found the perfect time for exercise: 7 a.m. The team noticed that people who scheduled their gym time at this hour lowered their blood pressure by about 10 percent, which remained consistently lower throughout the day. These early risers also had a 25-percent decrease in their blood pressure at night. Plus, they slept for longer periods of time compared to those who exercised at various times. The researchers noted that there were few sleep or blood pressure benefits when people exercised at 7 p.m. or 1 p.m. 

It seems that morning workouts can also help people hoping to drop a few pounds. Those who worked out with an empty stomach burned up to 20 percent more fat, according to health site Greatist. Another study indicated that moderate exercise for 45 minutes in the morning reduced appetite, the site reports.

However, numerous studies have shown that exercising itself can reduce appetite. Research from 2016 revealed that rigorous exercise curbed appetite for the whole day, reports Shape. Scientists found that physical activity decreases ghrelin, a hormone that causes appetite, while increasing peptide YY, a hormone that actually suppresses appetite. In other words, the weight-loss benefits of exercise could come from multiple directions.

The Best Excuses to Sleep In

According to one British study, people who go to the gym at night are able to exercise more intensely and for longer periods of time, according to an article in Self. The researchers found that people who wake up later reach their peak performance 11 hours after getting out of bed, and early risers experience their apex six hours after waking up.

The magazine reports that strength training might be best done at night because we have higher levels of testosterone, which helps build muscle. Additionally, our muscular function also peaks at night, making it easier to tone up.

Of course just getting yourself to the gym is an accomplishment, whether it’s on a cold, dark morning, or after a long day at the office. So the right time to work out really comes down to the time that works best for you.

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