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Study Finds Intensity & Timing Of Physical Activity Impact Insulin Sensitivity

Morgan Chamberlain
Author:
November 5, 2022
Morgan Chamberlain
mbg Supplement Editor
By Morgan Chamberlain
mbg Supplement Editor
Morgan Chamberlain is a supplement editor at mindbodygreen. She graduated from Syracuse University with a Bachelor of Science degree in magazine journalism and a minor in nutrition.
Image by MaaHoo Studio / Stocksy
November 5, 2022

When it comes to movement, everyone seems to have their own routine that works best for them—some people like to boost their endorphins with a sunrise run, while others prefer a restorative yoga practice to wind down their day.

Obviously, different types of exercise can have various benefits. Finding a fitness routine that increases your physical activity, supports your health goals, and brings you joy is key.

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If your personal goal is to reduce insulin resistance (which can help you maintain a healthy weight), a new study from 1Diabetologia1 reveals that moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) in the afternoon or evening is the best way to do just that.

The study design.

Curious whether timing of physical activity had an impact on insulin resistance, researchers assessed sedentary time, breaks in sedentary time, intensity of physical activity, and liver fat content in 755 middle-aged women and men from the Netherlands Epidemiology of Obesity (NEO) study.

Participants were sorted into four different groups based on the time of day they were most active:

  • Morning (6 a.m. to noon)
  • Afternoon (noon to 6 p.m.)
  • Evening (6 p.m. to midnight)
  • Evenly distributed MVPA throughout the day
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How physical activity affects insulin resistance.

The study found that both total physical activity (we're talking the moderate to vigorous kind) and timing of physical activity reduced insulin resistance (but not liver fat content). However, working out in the afternoon and evening reduced insulin resistance up to 25% when compared to evenly distributed physical activity throughout the day.

Interestingly, light physical activity, a lower amount of sedentary time, and more breaks in sedentary time did not show a reduction in liver fat content or insulin resistance.

The takeaway.

The results of this study suggest that timing and intensity of physical activity are the most important factors when attempting to reduce insulin resistance. Specifically, partaking in moderate to vigorous physical activity in the afternoon or evening is the most effective way to reduce insulin resistance.

If you're someone who struggles with insulin resistance, taking a premium metabolism booster supplement is another way you can support insulin sensitivity and overall metabolic health. (Check out mindbodygreen's top picks here!)

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Morgan Chamberlain author page.
Morgan Chamberlain
mbg Supplement Editor

Morgan Chamberlain is a supplement editor at mindbodygreen. She graduated from Syracuse University with a Bachelor of Science degree in magazine journalism and a minor in nutrition. Chamberlain believes in taking small steps to improve your well-being—whether that means eating more plant-based foods, checking in with a therapist weekly, or spending quality time with your closest friends. When she isn’t typing away furiously at her keyboard, you can find her cooking in the kitchen, hanging outside, or doing a vinyasa flow.