Exercising in the evening offers greatest health benefits for people with obesity

A new study has found a link between the timing of exercise and a reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

The results show that physical activity in the morning and afternoon is linked to a reduced risk of developing the condition, while no statistically significant relationship was found between physical activity in the evening and type 2 diabetes risk.

Previous research found that in terms of mortality, there is a link between lower risk and midday to afternoon physical activity rather than evening exercise, in comparison to morning activity. However, there is little research around the associations between exercise timing and consistency and the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

The team led by Harvard University and Harvard Medical School set out to explore this topic, analysing data from just over 93,000 UK Biobank participants with no history of type 2 diabetes and a mean age of 62, who wore an accelerometer on their wrist for a week.

They used MET, a common measure of physical activity, to capture daily activity including housework, walking and vigorous exercise. They then look at this data in the context of when it was completed – morning, afternoon, evening.

The researchers also took into account whether the physical activity was moderate-to-vigorous or vigorous in relation to type 2 diabetes rates.

They found that each 1-unit increase in MET was linked to a 10% and 9% lowering of type 2 diabetes risk in the morning and afternoon.

While consistency of physical activity was not linked to type 2 diabetes, the intensity did make a difference.

Moderate-to-vigorous and vigorous activity was linked to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes at any time of the day.

The study authors said: “The consistency or routine of physical activity was not strongly associated with type 2 diabetes. In other words, individuals who exercise a smaller amount of time more frequently are at no lesser risk for diabetes than individuals who exercise the same total amount, but with less of a routine.”

They went on to say: “Our findings support that total physical activity but not its consistency over the week may be an important factor impacting type 2 diabetes risk. The timing of activity may play a role in mitigation of type 2 diabetes risk.

“Our study showed an association with diabetes risk between morning and afternoon versus evening physical activity. The findings also suggest it is helpful to include some higher intensity activity to help reduce the risk of developing diabetes and other cardiovascular disease.”

Read the study in Diabetologia.

Get our free newsletters

Stay up to date with the latest news, research and breakthroughs.

You May Also Like

Endocrine and Metabolic Link to Coronavirus

An article has been published in the journal Nature which looks at…

13 top tips for staying sane in self-isolation

As we close our front doors for the last time and embark…

Review article: Low-carbohydrate diets in the management of obesity and type 2 diabetes: A review from clinicians using the approach in practice.

A recent article in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public…