Studies say this is the exact time you should exercise if you want to lose weight

“It’s quite well known that almost every aspect of our physiology and metabolism is dictated by the circadian clock,” explains the study’s lead author.

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You can set your watch to new research on the do’s and don’t’s of effective exercise. The latest comes in the form of two papers published in the Journal Metabolism, on April 18th. Experiments conducted by two separate teams of researchers motion that the time of day plays a vital role in the weight-loss results of habitual physical activity.

An interest in the way our circadian clock affects our metabolism and physiology urged the experts towards the first experiment involving mice, with further research on human trials producing similar results. The researchers found that working out in the evening when specific proteins and metabolites are produced in the body consistently yielded a more productive session in both species. In mice, there was a 50% increase in performance at night time as opposed to the day.


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Paolo Sassone-Corsi, one of the researchers from The University of California, explains, “Circadian rhythms dominate everything we do. Previous studies from our lab have suggested that at least 50% of our metabolism is circadian, and 50% of the metabolites in our body oscillate based on the circadian cycle. It makes sense that exercise would be one of the things that’s impacted.”

Maximize your exertion

“It’s quite well known that almost every aspect of our physiology and metabolism is dictated by the circadian clock,” explains the first study’s lead author, Gad Asher.

Asher and a team of researchers from the Weizmann Institute of Science and the University of California, Irvine, demonstrated this with a crop of mice in two different reports. The first put the mice on treadmills in various stages of their active phase, assigning them varying degrees of physical intensity.  During the “mouse evening” the rodents observed in the study exhibited higher levels of ZMP, which is a compound some competing athletes use for doping.  ZMP is critical to efficient weight-loss because of the way it promotes healthy metabolic regulation. 

In the second experiment, researchers had the mice perform similar tasks during the same time of day, only this time they observed changes in muscle tissue. These results showed that the production of a protein called  HIF-1a changed depending on the time of day as well. Human trials yielded parallel findings because humans tend to express lower oxygen consumption in the evenings.

The report published in the Journal Metabolism,  concludes by confessing the research to be too new to determine a specific time that serves efficient exercise the best, but as far as the production of key hormones and proteins are concerned, nighttime seems to be the way to go

Another recent study published independently by researchers from England’s University of Birmingham posits that humans were able to exercise for 20% longer when they began their workout 11 hours after they woke up. In addition to benefits to healthy sleep, Self.com reports, “Muscle function and strength peak in the PM.”


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CW Headley|is a reporter for Ladders and can be reached at cheadley@theladders.com.