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What’s the Best Time to Exercise?

Check out the “atlas of exercise metabolism.”

Man checking watch for best time to exercise

Many people wonder about the best time to exercise. Studies show that people glean various health benefits from exercising at different times of the day—largely due to metabolic influence. An “atlas of exercise metabolism,” recently created by an international research group led by Helmholtz Center Munich investigators in Germany, may light the path for future studies.

Researchers studied the physiological effects of exercise at specific times. “A better understanding of how exercise affects the body at different times of day might help us to maximize the benefits of exercise for people at risk of diseases, such as obesity and type 2 diabetes,” said study author Juleen R. Zierath, PhD, from the Karolinska Institute and Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research at the University of Copenhagen.

“As this is the first comprehensive study that summarizes time- and exercise-dependent metabolism over multiple tissues, it is of great value to generate and refine systemic models for metabolism and organ crosstalk,” added study author Dominik Lutter, PhD, head of computational discovery research from the Helmholtz Diabetes Center.

While the study was conducted on mice, it shows that time of exercise defines systemwide energy metabolism activation and that timing may significantly impact metabolic responses. This helps with future human studies.

The study is available in Cell Metabolism (2022; 34 [2], 329–45).

See also: Best Time to Exercise for Metabolic Health

Shirley Archer-Eichenberger, JD, MA

Shirley Archer, JD, MA, is an internationally acknowledged integrative health and mindfulness specialist, best-selling author of 16 fitness and wellness books translated into multiple languages and sold worldwide, award-winning health journalist, contributing editor to Fitness Journal, media spokesperson, and IDEA's 2008 Fitness Instructor of the Year. She's a 25-year industry veteran and former health and fitness educator at the Stanford Prevention Research Center, who has served on multiple industry committees and co-authored trade books and manuals for ACE, ACSM and YMCA of the USA. She has appeared on TV worldwide and was a featured trainer on America's Next Top Model.

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