There is no question that exercising on a regular basis is crucial to good health. However, there has been some debate as to what time of day is best for a workout.
While the simple answer is that different times work for different
people, there is some new research which suggests that after dinner is
the best time for those living with type 2 diabetes.
As a general rule for healthy individuals, how regularly you exercise
matters more than when you do it. According to Dr. Russell Pate, a
professor of exercise science at the University of South Carolina, “the
best time of the day is when you will do it most consistently, because
the benefits of physical activity are tightly linked to the amount you
do on a consistent basis.”
are scheduling factors to consider, of course. Do you have time for a
brisk walk or a round on the exercise bike before work in the mornings?
Do you have a break in the afternoon, or do you zoom straight to the
kids’ activities? If you exercise after dinner, does it make you too
wired to get to sleep on time?
These are a few questions you can ask yourself when scheduling your
workouts into your day. Try to make it the same days every week if you
can – around the same time if possible. That way, your regimen will be
easier to stick to.
For individuals with type 2 diabetes, who are at a higher risk of
heart disease and stroke, the answer may be different. A new study
performed at the University of Missouri studied a group of participants
with type 2 diabetes. Some performed their workouts before dinner, and
some performed them after dinner. Workouts centered around resistance training.
showed that the participants who worked out before dinner displayed
lowered blood sugar. However, those that exercised after dinner
displayed lowered blood sugar and fat levels. According to researcher
Jill Kanaley, “results from this study show that resistance exercise has
its most powerful effect on reducing glucose and fat levels in one’s
blood when performed after dinner.”
So, while more research needs to be done on this, and is planned, if
you have type 2 diabetes, or are pre-diabetic, you may wish to talk to
your doctor about exercising after dinner, and develop a workout plan
that’s right for you.
If you don’t have a medical condition, however, current
recommendations dictate that you’ll get the benefits of exercise no
matter what time you do it – as long as you stick to your routine!