Studies suggest that the best time to practice physical activity varies according to the individual’s specific objective, such as weight loss, muscle mass gain or longevity. The practitioner’s gender and the best performance period of the day also influence the results.
The secret to living longer, for example, is exercising after lunch. This is the conclusion of a study led by Chinese researchers and published in February in the international scientific journal Nature Communications. The discovery was made from data collected over seven years on accelerometers from more than 90,000 people.
Elderly people, men, less active people or people with pre-existing cardiovascular diseases are the groups that most benefit from physical exercise between 11am and 5pm, but gains can be extended to anyone. Experts considered activities of moderate intensity, equivalent in effort to brisk, brisk walking.
Despite preventing deaths from general causes and cardiovascular diseases, afternoon exercises were not the most indicated against cancer. In this case, those who prefer the early hours.
Scientists attribute part of this phenomenon to the body’s metabolic response to physical activity. Morning and night times, for example, are those in which the human body is most susceptible to variations in blood pressure. In addition, the period of practice has an impact on the behavior and environmental aspects of practitioners, such as meal times and exposure to sunlight.
However, the biggest reason, according to him, is the absence of a universal answer. The best time for those looking to reap positive health results may not be the same for those who want better performance. A volleyball player can have benefits that a marathon runner does not get if he trains in the afternoon.
Choosing a shift to run or hit the gym is a multifactorial process. It involves personal taste, social imposition by work or study schedules, climatic factors and even the capacity of the training place. Specialists add that the choice of objective must also enter into the account.
A study published last year in the journal Frontiers of Physiology showed that women burn more fat in the morning and build more muscle in the evening. For men, the ideal time frame for weight loss was the opposite.
To arrive at these results, scientists followed 30 men and 26 active and healthy women, aged between 25 and 55 years, for 12 weeks. Divided into two groups, the participants exercised before 8:30 am or after 6 pm, in addition to following the same diet during that period. Despite the difference in results, the authors highlight that there was improvement in health and performance of all.
In 2015, researchers from the United Kingdom published a study analyzing the performance of 20 professional hockey players who trained at different times of the day. They found that the choice of a less suitable turn can harm the player’s performance by up to 26%. At work, morning people benefited from a workout around noon, while afternoon people did better around 4pm. The nocturnal ones had better results when they exercised at 20h.
For an athlete, the difference of thousandths within a competition makes the difference between winning and losing. It’s important to do physical activity regardless of schedule. From a health point of view, we need to get at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week.
Physical exercise should not involve great sacrifice. Those who want to start exercising need to feel satisfied at the end, a factor that is also influenced by the appropriate choice of time. If the person is training at a time when he doesn’t feel well, he will end up stopping.
It is also not advisable to be exposed to extreme temperatures, especially heat, which can cause dehydration, hyperthermia and hinder performance, shortening training time and effort capacity. Very dry or humid environments can also be a hindrance. Therefore, the first hours of the morning or the end of the afternoon can be good times for those who live in very hot regions.
Experts were also unanimous in pointing out that people who suffer from insomnia should avoid exercising in the hours before bed, especially those more intense ones, at the risk of altering sleep patterns and creating even more difficulty falling asleep.
Physical activity in general improves the circadian cycle, especially when done regularly at the same time. But if you do it before going to bed, it generates this little but.
Sleep quality is just as important as a workout routine. It is during rest that the organism recovers and synthesizes everything that was learned and developed during the day (and at night).
Exercising too late can make the hustle and bustle of training impair sleep. And this can reflect negatively on health and even performance.
The same is true when you have to sacrifice sleep to train early in the morning. If the person is going to wake up at 5 am because they have a spinning class, it’s important to sleep a little earlier the night before.
Everything is always related to the way it is done, everything that is too much ends up being harmful to health.