Feb. 22, 2023 – People who engaged in midday exercise lowered their risk of an early death more than people who exercised in the morning or in the evening, a new study shows.
The researchers said the results could be used by people to “maximize” the benefits of daily physical activity.
The study was published this month in the journal Nature Communications. Researchers analyzed physical activity and death data for 92,139 people in the United Kingdom.
The researchers found that moderate to vigorous physical activity at any time of day offered protective health benefits, with the best benefits usually coming from at least 150 minutes per week. (Moderate to vigorous activity is equivalent to at least a brisk walk or mowing the lawn.)
People whose activity level was elevated between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. lowered their risk of death from any cause more than people who exercised in the morning or the evening. The protective benefits of midday exercise persisted despite any differences in people’s socioeconomic status, lifestyle, preexisting conditions, sleep habits, or the total amount of moderate to vigorous activity they engaged in.
The benefits of midday activity were even more pronounced among older people, males, less active individuals, and those diagnosed with heart disease. Midday exercise particularly protected against early death caused by heart disease. The researchers speculated that this could be because cardiovascular events such as heart attacks are least likely to occur during the middle part of the day.