Scientists do not understand why exercise produces different benefits depending on the time of day.
New research published in Cell Metabolism may further our understanding of how these changes occur.
The study examined the effects of exercise done in the early morning and late evening in mice.
The effects of time on the benefits of exercise were found to be specific to different tissues and organs.
Samples were taken from seven tissues around the body, as well as the blood.
The timing of exercises produced different effects on the heart, muscles, brain, liver and more.
This makes the question of a ‘best’ time to exercise more complicated, and there isn’t currently a catch-all answer.
The main gain from this research is an improved understanding of how these organs communicate with each other and how the timekeeping mechanisms (circadian clocks) can be rewritten by exercise.
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The study does present several limitations that future research will need to overcome.
The research group examined mice, who are nocturnal.
This means the biochemistry of their circadian rhythms might differ to ours more than other aspects of their biology.
The researchers also examined only one type of exercise, treadmill running, which may not activate all of the same responses as other types of exercise.
Co-first author Assistant Professor Shogo Sato from Texas A&M University said: “Despite the limitations, it’s an important study that helps to direct further research that can help us better understand how exercise, if timed correctly, can help to improve health.”
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