Afternoon Exercise May Lead to Longer Life


People exercising | Image by Ground Picture

Exercise at certain points in the day might be affecting your life span.

Research published in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Communications detailed the correlation between the timing of exercise and a person’s mortality.

Scientists claimed that this study illustrated the “first evidence that MVPA [moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity] is associated with lower risks of all-cause, CVD [cardiovascular disease], and cancer mortality regardless of the time of day.” 

However, differences in data illustrated that certain time periods yielded greater benefits than others.

Scientists from the study recognized training combined with this timing might result in greater loss of body fat than aerobic or resistance training alone.

Researchers observed 92,139 United Kingdom Biobank participants between the ages of 40 and 73 over a course of seven years. These participants were separated into four groups: morning (5 a.m. – 11 a.m.), afternoon (11 a.m. – 5 p.m.), evening (5 p.m. – midnight), and mixed.

Scientists considered a number of factors such as “obesity, diabetes history, longstanding illness, depression history, CVDs, and cancer.” They also looked at data from activity trackers, movement patterns, and mortality records.

Results from this study illustrated that overall MVPA at any time of day was associated with lower risks of cancer mortality, all-cause, and cardiovascular disease. However, the afternoon and mixed groups demonstrated lower risks of all-cause and cardiovascular disease than the remaining groups.

Researchers observed that those who engaged in MVPA frequently tended to live longer than those who had little to no exercise, regardless of the time of day.

Previous research detailed in February 2022, however, detailed greater fat-burning capabilities in the morning hours. This research was conducted on mice test subjects, measuring tissue changes dependent on when they ran.

Scientists in that study had noticed the most profound changes in fat tissue. Juleen Zierath, one of the senior authors of that study, told The Washington Post that she and her team had expected the most change in the muscle and liver.

“We hadn’t expected fat to be so affected,” said Zierath.

Scientists from the long-term study said that the reason for these results in MVPA timing could possibly be related to one’s circadian rhythm and metabolism, given the most unfavorable results occurred with the morning and evening groups.

Other possible reasons include circadian rhythmic variation being influenced by outside or behavioral factors and differences in exercise methods amongst the groups.

“In summary, our results show that MVPA timing may have the potential to maximize the health benefits of daily PA [physical activity],” the study said. More testing is required to validate the research.

Scientists have conducted similar studies on the advantages of cardiovascular activities, exploring the benefits provided by such activities, including maintaining cognitive health and alleviating obesity.

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