Early to bed, early to rise
Early to bed, early to rise

Early to bed, early to rise

Tuesday, April 2, 2024

Wellness, Fitness

Research says add exercise 

Most people know the next two lines in American statesman Benjamin Franklin’s famous quote, “Makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” In Colonial times, surviving required hard physical labor. Rising early to exercise was not even considered.  


Fast forward several centuries, however, and steady gains in health and life expectancy have slowed. Despite marvels in medicine and science Benjamin Franklin could not have envisioned, life expectancy in the colonies is slipping backwards. 

Houston, we have a problem. And that problem is obesity.  


Staying true to the American belief that we can overcome anything with hard work, many people turn to diet and exercise. Finding the right combination of the two is a nonstop conversation on all the media outlets and especially, amongst ourselves.  


Research to the rescue  

A recent research study outlined in the journal Obesity reported that people who exercised in the morning, specifically from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m., had lower body mass index (BMI) and smaller waist sizes than people who exercised at other times. The researchers, from Hong Kong Polytechnic University and Franklin Pierce University in New Hampshire, placed 5,285 individuals in three workout groups – morning, afternoon and evening.  

As mentioned above, the individuals who worked out in the morning had a lower average BMI (27.4) compared to those who worked out in the afternoon (28.4) and evening (28.2). Waist circumference showed a similar association; the morning exercise group’s average waist was 37.7 inches, compared to 38.5 inches for the afternoon group and 38.3 inches for the evening group. 


Morning movement, circadian rhythms and weight loss 

Researchers don’t fully understand why exercising in the morning appears to be more effective for battling obesity. The key to that question is likely circadian rhythms, the body’s natural sleep-wake cycle.  

Hormones linked with weight loss and obesity, such as insulin and cortisol, are closely tied to circadian rhythms, which can affect things like sleepiness, hunger, fat burning (lipolysis) and fat storage (lipogenesis). Therefore, just like how the timing of when you eat can affect weight gain, so too can the timing of your exercise appear to affect weight loss. 

“Additionally, working out in the morning helps to improve cognitive function by stimulating brain activity. It enhances alertness and concentration, increasing productivity throughout your day. Morning exercise, especially outdoors, also gives us morning light, which is critical to regulating our circadian rhythms. 


Fun fact

Here’s a little more motivation to get up and go. The morning workout group exercised less and engaged in more sedentary time than the other groups but maintained healthier BMI and waist size. 


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Genesis HealthCare System’s Health and Wellness content conveniently provides accurate and helpful information. Your health history and current health may impact suggestions provided through our Health and Wellness content. Although we hope this information is helpful, it is not a substitute for your doctor's medical advice. Before making any significant changes, please consult your doctor.