FORT WORTH, Texas - There's evidence showing that it may not be just about how you exercise, but rather when.
Many agree a morning workout is a great way to start the day, but a recent study out of the Netherlands suggests afternoon workouts may be better for some.
Dr. Patrick Schrauwen and his team studied a moderate exercise routine on two dozen men. All of them were pre-diabetic, meaning their blood sugar levels were higher than normal. After 12 weeks of doing the exact same routine, everyone had better cardiovascular health, but those who worked out late in the day got a bigger metabolic result.
"Those who trained in the afternoon had more beneficial effects of exercise training than the people who trained in the mornings," he said.
The "afternooners" had a bigger drop in blood sugar, and significantly more control over it. They also lost more belly fat than those who exercised in the morning.
Dr. Andrew Parker, an orthopedic doctor with Texas Health Resources, told CBS 11 News morning, afternoon or evening workouts depend on what you're trying to achieve.
"There have been a lot of studies regarding not only just time of day, but also fasted or fed states in terms of how your body is going to respond to the workout," Dr. Parker said. "So your goals of your workout. whether it is weight loss, fat burning, strength-building or performance, are going to depend on how all those factors come together for you."
He pointed to research supporting a morning workout when people tend to be in a relatively fasted state.
"The way that your body responds to that when you don't have a lot of carbs in your belly is to go searching for other places in your body to try and find that energy," Dr. Parker explained. "So for being able to use your fat and things like that, it can be very helpful to work out at that time in the morning."
Dr. Parker said it's worth keeping in mind that the quality of the workout could suffer because of a lack of energy. Regardless, he said to not get too caught up on when to exercise. He said any exercise is better than none at all.
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