The story at a glance
- Heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide.
- Regular exercise has been proven to improve heart health.
- It was previously unknown whether the timing of exercise influenced the risk of stroke or heart disease.
Exercising in the morning is associated with the lowest risk of heart disease and stroke, according to a new study in more than 86,000 people.
Compared to people who were active at noon, those who were most active around 8 a.m. or 10 a.m. had an 11% and 16% lower risk of incident coronary artery disease, respectively. For women, the risks were reduced by 22% and 24% at these times.
Participants who were most active in the late morning had a 17% reduced risk of stroke, while women who were most active in the late morning had a 35% reduced risk of stroke.
The results were published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology and are based on data from the UK Biobank. They were also consistent regardless of the individuals’ total amount of daily activity.
“It’s well established that exercise is good for heart health, and our study now indicates that morning activity appears to be most beneficial,” said co-author Gali Albalak of Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands. -Down. in a report.
“The results were particularly pronounced in females and applied to both early risers and night owls.”
Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death worldwide. Its prevalence is expected to increase as humans become more sedentary and rates of diabetes and hypertension rise, the authors explained.
All study participants were between the ages of 42 and 78, while the average age was 62. The individuals had no cardiovascular disease at the time of recruitment, although on average they were overweight and approximately 60% were female.
For seven days between February 2013 and December 2015, participants wore a wrist monitor to track their physical activity. The researchers followed all the individuals for six to eight years, until their first hospitalization or death from heart disease or stroke.
During this period, nearly 3,000 people developed coronary heart disease and nearly 800 suffered strokes. However, those who were active between 8 a.m. and 11 a.m. had the lowest risks for both conditions.
“This was an observational study, so we cannot explain why the associations were stronger in women,” Albalak said.
“Our results add to the evidence for the health benefits of physical activity by suggesting that early morning activity, and particularly late morning activity, may be most beneficial.”
However, it’s too early for researchers to formally recommend morning exercise, Albalak added.
Currently, adults are recommended to get 150 to 300 minutes of moderate physical activity or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous physical activity each week.