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Want a long life? Take advantage of the afternoon to exercise

 Want a long life? Take advantage of the afternoon to exercise.


 The data from more than 90,000 individuals show that afternoon exercisers have an advantage for longevity, although early exercise may burn more fat.

According to a recent large-scale study including more than 90,000 men and women, afternoon exercise may lower the odds of early death more than morning or evening workouts.

So, if you prefer morning or evening exercise, don't give up. The study also reveals that physical activity, regardless of the time of day, promotes longevity more so than inactivity does.

The optimum time to exercise may depend on our goals for a workout, according to other recent research that suggests exercising in the morning may have special advantages.

Why worry about exercise timing?

Mounting evidence suggests that when we are activity affects the health benefits of exercise to some extent. Previous studies found that people at risk of diabetes had better control of their blood sugar if they exercised in the evening as opposed to in the morning and that people lost more body fat if they exercised in the morning than in the afternoon.

It has been difficult to draw conclusions on the best times to exercise, however, because the majority of this research has been small and its findings limited and inconsistent.

One recent piece of research helpfully dispels any reservations about sample size. The latest study, published this month in Nature Communications, collected information on 92,139 men and women who took part in the UK Biobank, a UK adult health study and wore an activity tracker for a week.

The researchers divided the volunteers based on how often and when they moved, looked at mortality statistics for up to seven years after the participants joined the Biobank, and compared movement patterns with mortality using readouts from trackers.

No matter what time of day people got up and moved around, the biggest, but least surprising, link they found was that men and women who did the moderate or vigorous physical activity (the equivalent of a brisk walk) lived longer than those who rarely exercised.

However, the researchers also found indications of a correlation between exercising midday and better chances of living a long life.

Compared to people who exercise mostly before 11 a.m. or after 5 p.m., those who spread their physical activity throughout the day have a lower risk of dying early from heart disease or other causes (excluding cancer).

The researchers note that this afternoon corresponds exactly to the time of day when people are, statistically, less likely to have a heart attack.

Older adults and men benefited the most from an afternoon activity in terms of longevity. Taken together, however, the researchers say the findings "may have the potential to improve the health benefits of daily [physical activity]."

Morning workouts aim to reduce body fat

However, many of us find it logistically difficult or unattractive to exercise in the afternoon during the work day.

A recent study of healthy mice on miniature treadmills offers these folks some encouragement.

The study expands on a different and ambitious study from the previous year, in which scientists from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden and other institutions ranked nearly every molecular difference in mouse body tissues according to the time they were operated on.

They were shocked to see that the animals' fat tissues had undergone a radical modification.

According to Julene Zerrat, professor of clinical integrative physiology at Karolinska Institute and one of the study's senior authors, "We did not expect fat to be affected to this degree.

" She and her colleagues expected" that most of the molecular changes would appear in the muscles and livers of the animals, which help fuel the activity.

Therefore, they chose to focus on fat and how to exercise time affected it in the new study. Male mice were made to either stand on matched mini treadmills as a control or run on them for an hour. 

Some took to the streets a few hours after waking up, which would be around midday for us.

Others ran a few hours in the animals' natural idling and resting phase.

Before being trained, some animals missed meals, while others simply gnawed at their food as they pleased.

In the hours following exercise, the scientists routinely took blood and fat tissue from the animals.

They found significantly higher activity in the fat of the animals that escaped soon after waking up.

 Their fat greatly increased the number of fatty acids the building blocks of matter that are released into the animal's bloodstream to be used as fuel for its muscles.

 Also, fat from the evening runners (from the mice's perspective) showed smaller increases in biochemical markers of heat production and mitochondrial activity from the remaining adipose tissue, as well as in the activation of specific genes involved in fat metabolism.

In essence, the early morning activity created conditions for the animals' fat tissues that presumably would result in greater fat burning and loss over time than nighttime exercise, according to Zierath.

How do you choose the right time to exercise?

According to Jeffrey Horowitz, a professor at the University of Michigan who specializes in exercise and metabolism, "This study discovered some surprising effects." He was not part of the latest investigation.

However, it also makes the exercise decision more difficult.

If we want to live longer, should we exercise in the afternoon, or is it better to exercise in the morning to lose weight?

According to Zierath, any discrepancies would be "minimal" in practice.

No matter the time of day, the repetitive movement produced the greatest improvements in the experience of a lifetime.

What's more, Zierath noted, any fat-burning gains after early workouts are probably modest.

We are talking about fine-tuning, she explained. However, “Such small improvements may matter over a period of months, years, or a lifetime.” 

Thus, exercising before noon can be beneficial if you want to gradually reduce your body's fat stores and burn more fat with each session. But if your main goal is to live longer, try to get up and move more in the afternoon.

However, just getting up and moving is crucial.

Publisher, Life coach interested in a healthy lifestyle