A recent study published in Obesity, the premier magazine of The Obesity Society, suggests that the best time of day to increase the relationship between daily moderate to vigorous physical activity and obesity is between the hours of 7 and 9 in the morning. While conflicting epidemiological results exist regarding the best time to exercise for weight loss, this study focused on the diurnal pattern of accelerometer-measured physical activity and its association with obesity.
The study, conducted by researchers from Franklin Pierce University and The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, aimed to explore the impact of diurnal physical activity patterns on health outcomes. Previous research mainly focused on the frequency, intensity, and duration of physical activity, while little attention was given to the timing of such activity.
The researchers analyzed data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A total of 5,285 participants were cross-sectionally analyzed. The diurnal pattern of moderate to vigorous physical activity was classified into three categories – morning, mid-day, and evening – using K-means clustering analysis.
The results revealed a strong linear association between moderate to vigorous physical activity and obesity in the morning group. In contrast, a weaker curvilinear connection was found in the mid-day and evening groups. Participants who met the physical activity guidelines in the morning cluster had a lower body mass index and waist circumference compared to those in the other clusters.
Additionally, participants in the morning cluster reported having a healthier diet with lower daily energy intake per unit of body weight. However, they also spent a significantly higher amount of time on sedentary behavior compared to the other groups. Despite the longer duration of sedentary time, the lower body mass index and waist circumference outcomes persisted in the morning group.
The study’s authors concluded that the diurnal pattern of moderate to vigorous physical activity is an important dimension that contributes to the complexity of human movement. It is worth noting that the participants in the morning cluster were generally older and had a higher percentage of female participants. They also had higher levels of education and were less likely to have used tobacco or alcohol.
While the findings suggest that exercising in the morning may be beneficial for weight loss, it is important to note that this study is cross-sectional and does not establish causation. It is unclear whether people who consistently exercise in the morning have other factors that contribute to better health outcomes, such as more predictable schedules and lower stress levels.
Rebecca Krukowski, a clinical psychologist specializing in behavioral weight management, mentions that scheduling exercise in the morning may help individuals meet their exercise goals without distractions. However, she also highlights the need for further research to understand the potential differences between those who exercise in the morning and those who exercise at other times of the day.
In conclusion, while the study suggests that exercising in the morning may be beneficial for weight loss and reducing obesity, more research is needed to understand the underlying factors and potential advantages of morning exercise. As always, it is essential to find a time and routine that works best for individual needs and preferences when it comes to physical activity.