In a new study, researchers found that the effect of exercise may differ depending on the time of day it is performed.
Exercise in the morning and that in the evening may provide different health benefits.
In the morning, exercise can increase metabolic response in skeletal muscle; in the evening, exercise increases energy expenditure for an extended period of time.
The research was conducted by a team from the University of Copenhagen and the University of California, Irvine.
The finding is one of the new discoveries confirming that the body’s circadian clock affects our health.
In the study, the team tested mice and measured a number of effects in the muscle cells, including the transcriptional response and effects on the metabolites.
They found that the effect of exercise performed at the beginning of their dark/active phase, corresponding to morning, differs from the effect of exercise performed at the beginning of the light/resting phase, corresponding to evening.
The researchers say that the differences are quite strong and they are probably controlled by the body’s circadian clock.
They explain that morning exercise initiates gene programs in the muscle cells, making them more effective and better capable of metabolizing sugar and fat.
On the other hand, evening exercise can increase whole body energy expenditure for a longer time.
The results also show that morning exercise is not necessarily better than evening exercise.
Morning exercise seems to increase the ability of muscle cells to metabolize sugar and fat. This may benefit people with obesity and type 2 diabetes.
Evening exercise, on the other hand, can help people spend more energy in the hours after exercise and may benefit weight loss.
The team says future work needs to find the mechanisms for the beneficial effects of exercise training performed at these two time-points.
They hope to extend these studies to humans to identify if timed exercise can be used as a treatment strategy for people with metabolic diseases.
One author of the study is Associate Professor Jonas Thue Treebak from the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research.
The study is published in the journal Cell Metabolism.
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