Researchers discover the healthiest times to exercise

Sports freaks often run before the sun comes up, or they wait in front of the door before the gym opens. Others like to exercise in the evening, great for letting off some steam after work. Although it’s long been thought that exercising in the morning is healthiest, it turns out that’s not true.


Leiden researchers came to this conclusion. Evening is the best time to exercise and it has everything to do with insulin. The afternoon is also a good time to walk around the block. At least not in the morning. Because your body’s insulin sensitivity is higher in the afternoon and evening. If you have insulin resistance, you are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes.

Researchers wore an ActiHeart device on the chest of 800 people. While they were simply living their lives, their heart rate and exercise were tracked. There were four groups: morning exercisers, afternoon exercisers, evening exercisers, and grazers (that is, those who exercised a little throughout the day, but didn’t really have a clear peak moment). The advantage is that you don’t necessarily have to be a bodybuilder who hangs weights every day: you can even do some shopping by bike: it’s about exercise and not necessarily just about sports.

Exercise in the afternoon and evening

Scientius notes that people who exercise in the afternoon or evening have higher insulin sensitivity than people who are mainly active or graze in the morning. Actually 25 percent more. It doesn’t matter how much you move in a day. Researchers argue that this is related to a rhythm. Our body knows that there is a rhythm that is followed 24 hours.

There are many processes that peak later in the day. Muscles are at their strongest in the afternoon. Now it turns out that this is also a good time for insulin sensitivity (insulin is the substance by which sugar is absorbed from the blood). If you want to keep your blood glucose low, but you need a lot of insulin to do that, that’s not good.

Lifestyle advice every hour

The researchers want to go further with their research, because ultimately the objective is to see that, for example, dietary advice or sports advice should not be more specific in terms of time. Is the morning really the right time to eat?

Researchers hope to be able to increase the risk of diabetes by offering hourly lifestyle advice. This is how they fight disease. But you can already compete, by planning a run after work or in the evening when your evening meal has gone down. That bigoted colleague or friend who always says you’re lazy because you don’t exercise early in the morning? He is by no means an early bird that catches worms: it makes it more difficult for his body to manage diabetes. Exercise only in the afternoon or evening.

Laura Janney

When she is not typing, she is exploring the wonderful world of entertainment or some cool place in the real world. Mario is the man of her life,…

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