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The best time to exercise differs in men and women: Study

by Vaishali Sharma

According to a new study published in Frontiers in Physiology, men and women have distinct ideal workout periods. Women respond better to early exercises, while males respond better to exercise later in the day, according to researchers from Arizona State University, California State University, and Skidmore College in New York.

Data obtained from a small sample of ‘very active’ persons aged 25 to 55 reveals that working out in the morning helps women burn more fat and improves blood pressure measurements. Men, on the other hand, burn more calories at night. Being very active means engaging in at least 30 minutes of organised exercise four times per week for three years.

During the study, researchers tracked a group of 30 men and 26 women while they exercised at various times of the day according to a workout plan. Endurance training, interval sprints, stretching, and strength training were all part of the sessions. Participants participated in four sessions each week, with one form of training on each active day. The first group worked out for an hour in the morning before 8.30 a.m., whereas the second group worked out for an hour in the evening between 6 and 8 p.m. The workout routine was the same for both groups.

The researchers discovered that women dropped more belly fat and had lower blood pressure when they exercised in the morning and increased their physical power and endurance when they exercised at night. When men worked out at night, they had higher fat oxidation and lower blood pressure and weariness.

The disparity in exercise impacts between men and women is attributed in part to hormonal differences and differing sleep habits. Women spend more time in the deep sleep phase and less time in the light sleep phase than males, thus they are more aware in the morning.

The study’s findings can assist individuals with specific training or health goals modify their programme to meet their objectives. The study suggests that if a woman wants to grow muscle mass in her legs, lose fat, or lower her blood pressure, she should exercise in the morning.

This study adds weight to the notion that hormones can impact training results. Research suggests that hormone levels during different stages of the menstrual cycle can affect how the body responds to exercise. Tracking the cycle can help to plan effective training programs. It’s best to go hard with activities like HIIT, weight lifting, boxing, plyometrics, and long runs during the first phase of the cycle, the follicular phase. During the luteal phase, the final stage of the cycle, hormone load is high, and this means that it’s beneficial to opt for less intense exercises, including hiking, moderate cardio, light weights, yoga, and Pilates.

Creating an effective exercise routine

The study’s authors are eager to emphasise that an active lifestyle is helpful regardless of when you exercise. Exercising at any time of day is preferable to not exercising at all. Many people are unable to exercise at their desired time owing to job obligations, for example. A man who trains in the morning will not be disadvantaged if he is unable to exercise that evening.

One of numerous aspects that might impact training performance is the time you exercise. Nutrition is one of the most crucial factors to consider since your diet fuels your body. A well-balanced diet high in vitamins and minerals, as well as the required daily intakes of protein, fibre, healthy fats, and carbs, will allow you to exercise harder, recover quicker, and maintain high energy levels. Active people who wish to gain muscle mass can boost their protein intake by eating extra lean meat, eggs, fish, nuts, seeds, and vegetables, or by including a protein snack in their regular diet. Hydration is also important since the body loses fluid through perspiration during activity. Drink plenty of water to make sure that you replace lost fluid.

Training regularly can help you gain fitness, but it also increases your risk of injury and burnout. Overtraining is harmful and might put you back in your fitness objectives. Rest and recuperate between training sessions, and don’t push yourself if you have an injury or are weary.

Working with a personal trainer can assist people in achieving their objectives and remaining motivated. A personal trainer is skilled in developing tailored programmes and workout sessions that assist clients in achieving goals and working towards objectives. Trainers may tweak and change routines to fit the person, from growing muscle and boosting endurance to shedding weight, enhancing mental health, and generating greater definition. They provide knowledgeable advise while also encouraging and assisting customers in developing confidence.

Planning exercise going forward

The study’s findings, which were published in Frontiers in Physiology, may have an impact on those who are working towards specific health or fitness objectives, as well as those who want to make the most of every training session. Exercise is healthy at any time of day, and being active has several physical and mental health benefits, but this study gives intriguing information regarding the impact of training at different times. If people can pick when they exercise, this study might help them schedule exercise more effectively and meet personal goals.

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