Research has shown that exercising in the morning can reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.
Researchers at Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands conducted a study to reveal the link between exercise time and cardiovascular disease using data obtained from the UK Biobank. The subjects were 86,657 adults aged 42 to 78 without cardiovascular disease at baseline, the average age was 62 years, and 58% were women.
Data on physical activity was obtained through an activity tracker worn on the wrist by the participants for 7 consecutive days. In addition, we looked at the incidence of a first hospital stay or death related to coronary artery disease or stroke. During a follow-up period of 6 to 8 years, 2911 of the participants developed coronary artery disease and 796 had a stroke.
Analysis of the association found that people who were most active between 8 and 11 am had the lowest risk of heart disease and stroke.
Second, the researchers analyzed four groups based on the time of greatest physical activity: △ midday △ early morning (~8am) △ late morning (~10am) △ evening (~7pm). This distribution was not predetermined before the study began, but based on the time of maximum activity in the study group, and noon was used as the reference group.
After adjusting for age and sex, those who were most active in the early or late morning hours had an 11% and 16% lower risk of coronary artery disease compared to the reference group, respectively. Also, those who were most active in the late morning hours had a 17% lower stroke risk than the reference group. These results were consistent regardless of the total activity per day and whether the person was a morning person or an evening person.
When the results were analyzed separately by gender, these findings were particularly evident for women. Women who were most active in the early morning or late morning had a 22% and 24% lower risk of coronary artery disease compared to the reference group, respectively. Women who were most active in the late morning had a 35% lower stroke risk than the baseline group.
However, as this study was an observational study, they could not explain why the association was more pronounced in women, the researchers explained.
The results of this study were published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology under the title ‘Setting your clock: associations between the timing of objective physical activity and cardiovascular disease risk in the general population’.