Optimal Timing for Weight Loss: Unveiling Researchers’ Findings on the Best Exercise Time

Heading to the gym after work? You might want to rethink your schedule. According to a US study on 5,285 middle-aged adults, the best time for weight loss is between 7am to 9am. Participants in this time frame had a lower body mass index (BMI) and smaller waist circumference compared to those who exercised at midday or in the evening. Surprisingly, they also spent more time sedentary than the other groups.

Researchers believe that morning exercise is more effective because it’s easier to stick to and people are less likely to be distracted by phone calls, emails, or meetings. Dr Rebecca Krukowski, a clinical psychologist at the University of Virginia, says that scheduling exercise in the morning before distractions arise is a common tip for meeting fitness goals. However, she acknowledges that other factors could contribute to the results, such as having a predictable schedule or not having caregiving responsibilities.

A US study on 5,285 people showed exercising between 7am to 9am was best for weight loss (Stock image)

Additionally, studies suggest that “morning larks” who consistently wake up early may have different circadian rhythms that improve sleep quality and promote a consistent schedule, leading to weight loss. These individuals were found to be 10 to 13 years older than those in other groups and exhibited healthier lifestyle habits such as having a college degree, not smoking or drinking alcohol, and practicing healthier diets.

The findings were published in the journal Obesity. The study analyzed data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), which collects health data from 5,000 adults and children in the US annually. Data from 2003 to 2006 was used, during which participants wore fitness trackers to monitor their exercise levels.

In line with previous research, this study adds to the debate on the best time of day to exercise for weight loss. Another 12-week study from Skidmore College in New York suggested that morning exercise was beneficial for fat loss in women. Similarly, a study from Sweden’s Karolinska Institute found that exercising in the morning increased fat metabolism in mice.


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