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April 18, 2019

When is the best time to exercise? Researchers identify ideal hours

Working out at the right time can increase results

Fitness Exercise
Carroll - Running in Philadelphia Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

Running along the Schuylkill River Trail near the Strawberry Mansion Bridge.

Some people like to get up early and hit the gym before heading off to work. Others prefer to sleep longer in the morning and go for a run in the early evening. 

But does that have any impact on the results of that exercise? 

Apparently so, according to a new study published Thursday in the trade journal Cell Metabolism. And the best time to exercise is mid-morning.

Exercising at mid-morning results in more oxygen in the cells and and a more rejuvenating effect on the body, according to researchers at the University of California Irvine. It uses more carbohydrates and ketone bodies and better breaks down amino acids and fats.

To reach that conclusion, UCI researchers compared the impact exercise had on the skeletal muscle metabolism of mice at different times during the day. They observed distinct metabolic changes between the morning and evening.

"Exercise stimulates metabolism, leading to the improvement of metabolic health," researcher Paolo Sassone-Corsi said in a statement. "While the metabolic benefits from exercise have been extensively uncovered, the question of when it is appropriate to exercise has remained virtually unexplored."

Previous research has shown that food intake impacts exercise results. But little research has examined the ideal time to exercise.

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