We like to stay up to date with any exercise-related research we can get our hands on at our Newmarket physiotherapy clinic. So the team was obviously interested in a study that suggested a morning workout was considered slightly more beneficial than one later in the day, particularly if weight loss is your goal.
The research, carried out by the department of exercise and sport science at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, suggested that working out in the morning, especially on an empty stomach, is the best way to burn stored fat. According to the professors behind the study, this is because the body’s hormonal composition in the morning is set up to support that goal. In other words, you have a hormonal profile in the early hours that will promote better metabolism of fat. They went on to say that people have naturally elevated levels of cortisol and growth hormone in the morning, and because they’re both involved in metabolism, you’ll draw more of your energy from your fat reserves. It was also suggested that a morning exercise session could curb your appetite during the day which could prevent you from overeating.
Does this mean you have to drastically change your daily routine if you’re an afternoon exerciser? Not necessarily. If weight loss is not your primary goal, then you can probably stick with your current programme. The same research found that while morning workouts are ideal for burning fat and losing weight, afternoon workouts can boost your physical and mental performance. This is because you’re no longer exercising on an empty stomach. Instead, you’ve eaten a meal or two by the time you start exercising. The researchers said that any time you eat, your blood sugar levels rise in the form of blood glucose – and this is what your body needs if you want to perform at a higher intensity. An afternoon workout is also seen as a reliable way to avoid an end-of-the-day slump and the invariable gobbling of sugary snacks to get that “hit”
So, morning for weight loss, later in the day for performance. That seems to be the summary of the research we read. As far as we’re concerned, exercising at any time is better than not exercising at all. Just do it regularly, and do it properly, so you’re less likely to require our physiotherapy services because of injury!