The time of day you workout could cut your risk of heart disease

We all know that exercise has numerous health benefits. Not only does it give certain organs and muscles a good workout, it can help us maintain a healthy weight and boost our mood. Now a study has found the time of day that you exercise could make a difference.

The paper, which was published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, concluded that being active between 8am and 11am was linked with lower risk in heart disease and strokes.

In a European Society of Cardiology release, study author Gali Albalak of Leiden University Medical Centre in the Netherlands, said: “It is well established that exercise is good for heart health, and our study now indicates that morning activity seems to be most beneficial.

“The findings were particularly pronounced in women, and applied to both early birds and night owls.”

As part of the research the team used data from the UK Biobank of more than 86,600 people aged between 42 and 78 – all who were free of cardiovascular disease.

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The participants wore an activity tracker on their wrist for a week.

They were then followed for incident cardiovascular disease, which was defined as a first hospital admission or death related to coronary artery disease or stroke.

In the next six to eight years, almost 3,000 participants developed coronary artery disease and up to 800 had a stroke.

Over a 24-hour period it was discovered that participants who were most active between 8am and 11am had the lowest risks of heart disease and stroke.


A second analysis followed in which participants were split into four groups based on time of activities – 12pm, 8am, 10am and 7pm.

Those who were most active at 8am or 10am had 11 percent and 16 percent lower risks of incident coronary artery disease, respectively, compared to the reference group.

And those who were most active at 10am had a 17 percent decreased risk of incident stroke.

When analysing the results separately according to gender, it was found that the results were particularly prominent in women but no longer significant in men.

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The women who were most active at 8am or 10am had 22 percent and 24 percent lower risks of coronary artery disease, respectively.

And women who were most active at 10am had a 35 percent decreased risk of stroke.

Ms Albalak added: “This was an observational study and therefore we cannot explain why the associations were more marked in women.

“Our findings add to the evidence on the health benefits of being physically active by suggesting that morning activity, and especially late morning, may be the most advantageous.”

Coronary heart disease is one of the most common forms of heart disease in the UK.

It occurs when arteries become narrowed by a build-up of fatty substances along their walls.

The most common signs are chest pain and breathlessness.

A stroke is a medical emergency that happens when blood supply to part of the brain is cut off – if you suspect someone is suffering a stroke you should call 999.

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