Those of us who are hoping to make a significant and positive change to our lifestyles often approach our ambitions from all angles. First there’s the calorie deficit, and working on our sleep is another important consideration, but when we make the time investment to do some exercise, does it matter exactly when our sessions take place? According to a brand-new report, it certainly does, especially if you are overweight or suffering from Type 2 diabetes.

The study published in Science Daily was carried out by researchers at the University of Sydney, Australia, who monitored 30,000 people for almost 8 years. Each participant, living with obesity, was given a wearable fitness tracking device to check on their movement and what time of day they were most active. The results showed that those who did the most moderate to vigorous evening activities (6pm – midnight) developed the lowest risk of premature death or death from cardiovascular disease. Just 3 minutes or more of evening exercise was all it took to bring positive results.

Fit man with tattoos running up the stairs at evening activities
Photo by Steven Erixon on Unsplash

Planning Evening Activities Could Offset a Number of Health Problems

“Due to a number of complex societal factors, around two in three Australians have excess weight or obesity which puts them at a much greater risk of major cardiovascular conditions such as heart attacks and stroke, and premature death,” says Dr Angelo Sabag, who is a Lecturer in Exercise Physiology at the University of Sydney. Of course, this is a health crisis that is seen throughout the western world, but there is hope. “Exercise is by no means the only solution to the obesity crisis, but this research does suggest that people who can plan their activity into certain times of the day may best offset some of these health risks.”

Exercising in the evening has also been shown to benefit those who are suffering with Type 2 diabetes, since heart pumping activity is thought to offset glucose intolerance and other associated complications. “While we need to do further research to establish causal links, this study suggests that the timing of physical activity could be an important part of the recommendations for future obesity and Type 2 diabetes management, and preventive healthcare in general,” concluded Professor Emmanuel Stamatakis, who is Director of the Mackenzie Wearables Hub and senior author on the paper.