The time of day you exercise may have a big impact on your weight loss journey, according to a new report.
Researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of Kansas recently conducted a study, published in the International Journal of Obesity, to determine the association between exercise timing and weight loss outcomes.
To do so, they pulled data from the Midwest Exercise Trial 2, an assessment on how regular, supervised exercise influences body weight. The team examined about 100 physically inactive adults who began working out five times a week at a physiology lab. The participants could pick the time of day they exercised but were required to burn up to 600 calories a session.
After analyzing the results, they found those who exercised in the morning lost more weight than those who performed the same exercises later in the day. In fact, people who sweated it out before noon dropped more pounds than those who did so after 3 p.m.
“Based on this data, I would say that the timing of exercise might — just might — play a role,” co-author Erik Willis told The New York Times.
The team doesn’t fully yet understand why morning exercisers shed more pounds, but they did note this group was slightly more active and ate less throughout the day. The a.m. exercisers walked more steps and consumed nearly 100 calories fewer than the evening exercisers.
This isn’t the first time researchers have found a correlation between morning exercise and successful weight loss.
Last month, a team from Brown Alpert Medical School observed 375 adults and found those who maintained weight loss worked out consistently in the morning.
Despite the differences, the scientists of the latest study stressed weight loss can be achieved no matter what time of day you exercise.
“I would not want anyone to think that it’s not worth exercising if you can’t do it first thing in the morning,” Willis said. “Any exercise, at any time of day, is going to be better than none.”
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