Washington: With an ever-increasing demand for time, many ,idle-aged adults are finding it difficult to engage in exercise. For many, even the thought of fitting exercise in after a busy day at work can be as tiring as it is unappetising.
Another barrier to exercise during early evening is the standing belief that high-intensity exercise should be avoided due to its effect on sleep.
The new research, published in Experimental Physiology, now says that 30 minutes of high-intensity exercise performed in the early evening does not negatively affect subsequent sleep, and may also reduce feelings of hunger.
The study, conducted by researchers at Charles Sturt University in Australia recruited eleven middle-aged men to complete three experimental trials to investigate sleep and appetite responses to exercise performed in the morning (6 – 7 am), afternoon (2 – 4 pm) and evening (7 – 9 pm).
Participants were required to perform high-intensity cycling involving six one-minute, maximal intensity sprints interspersed by four minutes of rest. Blood collections were taken prior to exercise and following exercise to examine appetite-related hormones, and multiple tests were performed during sleep to assess sleep stages.
The results of the study not only showed that evening exercise did not have a detrimental impact on subsequent sleep, but also that afternoon and evening high-intensity exercise were associated with greater reductions of the hunger stimulating hormone, ghrelin.
It is important to note that a single bout of exercise was not linked to reduced hunger, but nevertheless, the observations from this study support high-intensity exercise early in the evening as a viable time-of day for exercise.
Penelope Larsen, lead author of the study, commented said: “In the future, we hope to conduct similar studies recruiting women, to determine whether sleep and appetite responses may be different depending on sex. Also, this study only considered a single bout of exercise; therefore, it would be beneficial to investigate long-term sleep and appetite adaptations to high-intensity exercise training performed either in the morning, afternoon or evening.”