Regular Evening Exercise Observed to Enhance Health Benefits in Obese People


New research from the University of Sydney, Australia, suggests that engaging in physical activity primarily in the evening may yield the greatest health benefits for individuals with obesity. Over the course of nearly 8 years, researchers monitored the progress of 30,000 individuals.

By analysing data from wearable devices to classify participants’ physical activity as morning, afternoon, or evening, the researchers discovered that those who engaged in the majority of their aerobic moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) between 6pm and midnight had the lowest risk of premature death and cardiovascular disease-related mortality.

Moreover, the frequency of engaging in MVPA during the evening, measured in short bouts lasting up to or exceeding three minutes, appeared to be more significant than the total amount of physical activity undertaken daily.

The findings, published in the journal Diabetes Care, were led by researchers from the University’s Charles Perkins Centre.

Dr Angelo Sabad, lecturer in Exercise Physiology at the University of Sydney said, “Due to a number of complex societal factors, around two in three Australians have excess weight or obesity which puts them at a much greater risk of major cardiovascular conditions such as heart attacks and stroke, and premature death.”

“Exercise is by no means the only solution to the obesity crisis, but this research does suggest that people who can plan their activity into certain times of the day may best offset some of these health risks.”

While smaller clinical trials have previously yielded comparable results, the extensive participant data and utilization of objective measures of physical activity, coupled with tangible outcomes like premature death, render the findings of this study particularly noteworthy.

Dr. Matthew Ahmadi, one of the joint first authors, emphasized that the study did not solely monitor structured exercise. Instead, researchers concentrated on monitoring continuous aerobic moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) in bouts lasting three minutes or longer. Previous research has indicated a robust correlation between this type of activity, glucose regulation, and reduced cardiovascular disease risk, compared to shorter (non-aerobic) bouts.

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