Most everyone has an exercise routine that they stick to: Either rise early and hit the gym before work, or take some time in the evening hours to sweat it out. If you fall into the latter camp, however, you might want to rethink your approach. Researchers at the Brown Alpert Medical School found that those who lost significant weight seemed to gravitate towards an earlier start. Their findings, published in the journal Obesity this week, suggests that there may be more benefits associated with morning exercise compared to physical activity done in the afternoon.
The team came to their conclusion after examining 375 adults who successfully maintained long-term weight loss and exercise regularly every day, with some completing moderate levels of physical activity and others working out more intensely. Researchers studied when these subjects conducted their workouts and how frequently they did so; after analyzing the data, the scientists found that a majority of these people were working out before noon. While the trend in the data has warranted teams to conduct further research, scientists did make it clear that consistent exercise—regardless of when you do it—is associated with higher physical activity levels overall.
"Our findings warrant future experimental research to determine whether promoting consistency in the time of day that planned and structured physical activity is performed can help individuals achieve and sustain higher levels of physical activity," said Dale Bond, PhD, a senior author on the study, in a press release shared with ScienceDaily.
If you're just beginning a new exercise routine or looking to embark on a weight loss journey, researchers say getting more physical activity is crucial—Leah Schumacher, PhD, one of the study's lead authors, says that researchers are looking into whether a morning routine could be the best time for those who currently don't exercise to get started. "It will also be important to determine whether there is a specific time of day that is more advantageous for individuals who have initial low physical activity levels to develop a physical activity habit," she said.