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Exercise at night is more beneficial for obese individuals, a study shows

University of Sydney researchers found that obese individuals can benefit more from exercise between 6 p.m. and midnight. One theory is that the body is better primed later in the day to manage blood sugar.

All exercise improves health unless your morning jog takes you down a narrow, rock-strewn path over a high cliff.

Whether you cycle, run or swim, anything that gets the heart beating faster will improve longevity. It will help steer you away from cardiovascular disease and other ailments like diabetes.

Few people, however, give much thought to the time of their workouts. Does it matter? New research shows that it does for at least one group.

A study from the University of Sydney shows that obese individuals most benefit from evening exercise, between 6 p.m. and midnight.

Moderate to vigorous exercise significantly lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease and early death, compared with afternoon or morning workouts. Moderate to vigorous exercise might include a brisk walk, gardening or cycling. Think about anything that makes the heart beat faster.

Researchers tracked 30,000 people who took part in the UK Biobank study for eight years, detailing their exercise and health outcomes. Evening exercisers had a 61% lower risk of death from any cause compared with a sedentary group. Morning and afternoon exercisers lowered their risk by 33% and 40%, respectively.

Night owls reduced their risk of cardiovascular disease twice as much as those who exercised at other times.

One theory is that the body is better primed later in the day to manage its blood sugar, increasing the beneficial effect of exercise.

And evening exercise plays an important role in blood pressure regulation.

Still, don't let evening obligations stop you from exercising. But you can't go wrong, whatever time of day you increase your heart rate.

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Health in a Heartbeat, from WUFT in Gainesville, is a source of health information that inspires and informs listeners and satisfies their growing appetite for news they can use. The program is produced by UF Health and WUFT and voiced by Sue Wagner.

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