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Why Afternoon May Be the Best Time to Exercise

Afternoon Exercise

Story at-a-glance -

  • A new study yielded some surprising findings about the effects of exercise on the circadian rhythms of mice
  • In this study, all of the exercising mice showed benefits to their circadian cycles—however, the time of day they exercised determined their degree of benefit; mice that exercised in the afternoon showed the greatest benefits, as opposed to those exercising in the morning or evening
  • Circadian rhythms are your body’s internal clock, largely based on signals of light and darkness, which sends signals to all of your cells about when to conduct certain physiological processes
  • When your circadian clock is disrupted, such as by sleeping in a room that isn’t dark or working the night shift, you have an increased risk for type 2 diabetes, obesity, memory loss, mood disorders, certain types of cancer, and a number of other serious health problems
  • This UCLA study is an interesting contrast to other research showing that exercising in the morning before breakfast, in a fasting state, better lowers insulin resistance and optimizes how your body recycles proteins into muscle

By Dr. Mercola

Do you often feel sluggish when the clock rolls around to 1:00 or 2:00 in the afternoon? A psychiatry professor at the University of California, Los Angeles’s Brain Research Institute may have an explanation about why many people hit “the wall” shortly after lunch hour.


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