It has long been known that exercise is one of the most effective ways to reduce heart disease and stroke risks. Regular exercise can improve cardiovascular health by reducing blood pressure, lowering cholesterol levels, and controlling blood sugar control. In addition, it also helps manage your weight and stress, which are critical factors in decreasing the risks of heart disease and stroke. Having that said, read on here to find out if the time of day we exercise impacts its effectiveness in improving heart health.
Relationship Between Heart Disease & Stroke risks and Time Of The Day You Exercise.
The European Journal of Preventive Cardiology has published a new study that has found that morning physical activity is linked with the lowest risk of heart disease and stroke. The study included more than 85,000 persons and showed that this association held true irrespective of the total daily activity level. (Source)
The study’s author Ms. Gali Albalak of Leiden University Medical Centre, Netherlands, said: “It is well established that exercise is good for heart health, and our study now indicates that morning activity seems to be most beneficial.” She further revealed that the findings were especially prominent in women and applied to early birds and night owls.
The study used data related to 86,657 adults obtained from the UK Biobank to examine the relationship between physical activity and the risk of heart disease and stroke. Participants ranged in age from 42 to 78 years (average age of 62 years) and were free of cardiovascular disease at the beginning of the study. They wore an activity tracker. The study showed that morning physical activity was linked with the lowest risk of heart disease and stroke, irrespective of the total daily activity level. In addition, participants were tracked for incident cardiovascular disease, defined as a hospital admission or death related to coronary artery disease or stroke.
The participants were tracked for six to eight years. During this 6 to 8-year follow-up, 2,911 participants developed coronary artery disease, and 796 suffered a stroke. Analyzing peak activity times across 24 hours, being most active between 8 am and 11 am was associated with the lowest heart disease and stroke risks.
In a second investigation, the researchers divided participants into four groups based on the peak time of physical activity: 1) midday; 2) early morning (~8 am); 3) late morning (~10 am); and 4) evening (~7 pm). The categories were selected based on peak times of physical activity in the study population instead of being predetermined before the study began. Relationships between peak time of activity and incident cardiovascular disease were examined using midday as the reference group.
After adjusting for sex and age, participants who were most active in the early morning or late morning had 11% and 16% lower risks of incident coronary artery disease, respectively, compared to the reference group. In addition, those who were most active in the late morning had a 17% decreased risk of incident stroke than the reference group.
The results were consistent regardless of whether subjects described themselves as a morning person or an evening person or the total amount of daily physical activity. However, when the findings were scrutinized separately according to sex, the researchers found that the results were especially pronounced in women but no longer significant in men. Women who were most active in the early morning or late morning had 22% and 24% lower risks of incident coronary artery disease, respectively than the reference group. Moreover, women who were most active in the late morning had a 35% reduced risk of incident stroke than the reference group.
The study’s author said: “This was an observational study, and thus we cannot explain why the relationships were more prominent in women. Nevertheless, our findings support the evidence of the health benefits of being physically active by suggesting that morning activity, particularly the late morning, maybe the most beneficial. It is too early to issue formal advice to prioritize morning exercise because this is still a new field of research. But let’s hope we can one day refine the current recommendations simply by adding one line: ‘when exercising, it’s recommended to do so in the morning.’”
Source: European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.
About Author: Renu Bakshi, AKA Fitness Buffh – Best Fitness Guru, is ISSA Certified Elite Trainer. He passed Personal Fitness Trainer Course, Nutrition Health Coach course & Specialist Exercise Therapy course from ISSA, the USA, obtaining + 97% marks. He shares his experience and knowledge about nutrition and effective workouts to get you in the best shape of your life, no matter how old you may be. The author says: “For me, age is just a number!”