Timing is everything: Habitual exercise may be the key to successful weight loss
03/10/2020 // Darnel Fernandez // Views

Humans are creatures of habit. For instance, a person who frequents the gym at the same time every day eventually sets that specific schedule as his workout time, whether he's an early bird or a night owl. People's work schedules and overall chronobiology usually dictate when they decide to do their exercise. Now, recent research suggests that consistency in both exercise intensity and time of day can play a big role in weight loss.

According to a study published in the research journal Obesity found that higher physical activity levels were associated with consistency in the timing of physical activity, regardless of whether it is done in the morning, afternoon or evening.

Consistency is key

Exercise guidelines from the US Department of Health and Human Services state that an average adult should get at least two and a half hours of exercise in a week to maintain overall good health. However, despite the many health benefits you can get from exercise, many people still struggle to meet this weekly quota.

Previous studies have established the impact of timing on exercise. For instance, researchers from the University of Copenhagen found that exercising during the day can result in an increased metabolic response in skeletal muscle, allowing it to efficiently metabolize sugars and fats. On the other hand, exercising in the evening can increase the whole body's energy expenditure hours after performing the exercise. (Related: Like night and day: Experts claim that morning and evening exercise can differ in calorie burning.)


For the current study, researchers from the Brown Alpert Medical School evaluated whether consistency in the time of day that people perform moderate-to-vigorous-intensity physical activity (MVPA) relates to the exercise levels of weight loss maintainers. The research team recruited and analyzed 375 adults who were considered successful weight loss maintainers in the National Weight Control Registry. They asked the participants to report the time of day they exercised and the frequency of their workouts.

From the results, 68 percent of the participants reported consistency in their exercise routine, with morning as the most common time of day. These people were also more likely to achieve the national MVPA guideline – more than 150 minutes per week – versus those who were not consistent with their workout routine. The participant's exercise levels were also not influenced by the location of their workouts, the type of workout or the mood they were in when they performed it.

"Temporal consistency was associated with greater MVPA, regardless of the specific time of day of routine MVPA performance. Consistency in exercise timing and other cues might help explain characteristic high physical levels among successful maintainers," the authors explained in a statement.

However, these findings are considered correlative; meaning exercise consistency alone is not enough to effectively lose weight. There are other factors that can influence your ability to lose weight like diets and lifestyle habits.

"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 senior author Dale Bond, a professor of psychiatry and human behavior at the Brown Alpert Medical School.

"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," added first author Leah Schumacher.

Learn more about why exercise is good for your overall health at Slender.news.

Sources include:


ScienceDaily.com 1

ScienceDaily.com 2




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