The best exercise time is different for men and women, study finds


Not everyone exercises for the same reason. For some, exercise is a means of addressing a health issue such as hypertension. Some work out to build strength in one part of the body or another, and some to improve their mood.

A new study suggests the time of day at which a person exercises may produce different results. In addition, those results are not the same for women and men.

Professor Paul J. Arciero, lead author of the study and professor at the Health and Human Physiological Sciences Department at Skidmore College in New York, tells BBC News that the best time for exercise is when people can fit it into their schedules.

Nonetheless, the study reveals certain time periods when individuals are most likely to achieve specific exercise goals.

Dr. Asad R. Siddiqi, assistant professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at Weill Cornell Medicine in NYC, who was not involved in the study, told Medical News Today:

“I appreciated the authors’ stated goal of adding to our understanding of the effects of training on female athletes and how that may differ from male athletes.

“Women are notoriously underrepresented in the medical literature, and even hypothesizing that there may be a difference between how different biological sexes respond to exercise indicates a level of thoughtfulness and nuance that has long been missing from scientific inquiry.”
— Dr. Asad R. Siddiqi

The study was published in frontiers in Physiology.

A fit group of participants

The researchers tracked the benefits of exercise in a group of 30 women and 26 men who were assigned to exercise in the morning — specifically between 6:00 to 8:00 am — or in the evening from 6:30 to 8:30 PM.

All participants were healthy, non-smoking, athletically trained individuals.

The participants trained according to the PRISETrusted Source (Protein pacing intake combined with Resistance functional, Interval sprint, Stretching, Endurance exercise) exercise and fitness paradigm developed by Dr. Arciero.

All participants followed a designed healthy meal plan and intake was similar in morning and evening groups.

The authors of the study measured a range of outcomes, including muscular strength, endurance and power, body composition, systolic/diastolic blood pressure, respiratory exchange ratio, and mood states, as well as their dietary intake.

Dr. Siddiqi cautioned that the participants “were all healthy, active, lean, and weight-stable individuals, which may not be particularly reflective of the habits, demographics, or goals of the larger population.”

He noted, in particular, that they were middle-aged adults with no cardiovascular disease. Thus, this would not be representative of the general population.

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