When it comes to weight loss and building muscle, new research suggests the best time to exercise varies between men and women.

It turns out that working out at different times – for specific results – could get more out of your efforts.

US researchers conducted a 12-week study sought to find the ‘elusive’ ideal time of day to work out given differences in how men and women respond to exercise.

The results show that women aiming to burn belly fat and reduce their blood pressure should work out in the morning.

Things like hormones, sleep cycles and other biological differences may indicate why there appears to be a gender difference, the Mirror reported.

Read on for what the researchers said about the time of day people should exercise.

What is the best time of day to exercise?

The best time of day for men to exercise and lose weight is less specific

A study from Skidmore College in New York showed that people – particularly women – may benefit more from exercising in the morning rather than in the evening, which is best for men.

The research involved 30 male and 26 female participants who are all healthy and aged between 25 and 55 years old

One group exercised for an hour before 8.30am. The other group did the same activities between 6pm and 8pm and they all followed a special diet.

The study’s lead author Dr Paul Arcerio, professor of health and human physiological sciences at Skidmore College, told the BBC that people “have more opportunity to benefit” from exercising early.

Their findings indicated a morning programme was particularly beneficial for women wanting to reduce belly fat and their blood pressure, but found they were better off trying to build muscle in the evening.

Evening exercise was also said to be better for a woman’s mood.

For men, evening workouts are beneficial for heart health as well as mood.

Dr Arcerio said: “[Evening exercise is] ideal for men interested in improving heart and metabolic health, as well as emotional wellbeing.”

The time of day men exercised appeared to have less of an impact on them.

The programme looked at already healthy people but could be applied to those who are overweight in the future.

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Does it matter what time of day you exercise?

Regular exercise and a balanced diet are still beneficial to your health, even if some research indicates that exercising at a certain time helps you lose more weight.

So, while exercising in the morning may be better for women, any exercise overall is good for your health and better than doing nothing.

Dr Arcerio said: “The best time for exercise is the best time you can do it and fit it into your schedule.”

The study was published in the journal Frontiers in Physiology.

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