Exercise is a key to good healthBy Veita Bland, M.D. / June 24, 2022
I have been so happy to see more of my patients adopt a lifestyle that includes exercise and a healthier diet. To that end, I have usually been so happy that they have decided to include exercise that I have not cared about what time of day they performed the activity. I just wanted them to exercise on a consistent basis, each and every week. Well, some of my cleaver and smart colleagues have asked the question, “Does it matter what time of day one exercises?” As you could imagine, yes, the time of day a person puts on their sneakers and hits their routine can make a difference. To be perfectly honest, the results were a little surprising to me.
Researchers at Skidmore College performed a 12-week exercise program for men and women. These were people who had a history of working out and were described as being middle-aged. The groups were so large that they were divided into a morning group and an evening group. So, these facts were discovered primarily because the researchers found it necessary to divide the groups up.
They learned that women who worked out in the morning lost more body fat than those who worked out in the evening. On the other hand, women who worked out in the evening gained more upper body strength and power. Interestingly enough for men the performance improvements were similar no matter the time of their work outs. However, men exhibited a significant drop in their blood pressure, cholesterol, body fat burned and they felt less fatigued when they exercised in the evening.
Both groups, regardless of when they exercised, showed improvements by having a leaner, stronger body. Results from a similar study even indicated that men who exercised in the evening exhibited better glucose control than men who exercised in the morning. This is a fact that those with diabetes might want to consider.
Sleep, which we all know is very important to health on so many levels, was also improved by exercise. Exercise activities helps you fall asleep easier and sleep deeper unless you exercise directly before bedtime.
Exercising each day at the same time also helps regulate one’s circadian rhythm or helps one’s inner clock get in balance. The regularity of the time one exercises is a key to success. Exercising outside in the sun is the best jump start for the circadian clock to help you go to sleep and wake up with regularity.
It cannot be emphasized enough that getting your exercise in at any time, except before bedtime, is a wonderful habit for your body and health. It is realized that the time one works, the availability of childcare and other parameters may affect when one can fit exercise into their life. Regularity is one of the major keys to unlocking the gifts that exercise can bring to one’s health. Look at your goals and whether the time of day you exercise helps you obtain those goals. And if it fits in your lifestyle, why not use the timing to your advantage? Work that body.
Dr. Veita Bland is a board-certified Greensboro physician and hypertension specialist. Dr. Bland’s radio show, “It’s a Matter of Your Health,” can be heard live on Wednesdays, 5:30 p.m. on N.C. A&T State University’s WNAA, 90.1 FM. Listeners may call in and ask questions. The show is replayed on Sirius 142 at 5 p.m. on Wed. Email Dr. Bland at email@example.com.