Exercising in the Morning May Help Burn Fat and Reduce NAFLD Risk
Exercising in the morning could be the most effective way to burn fat, according to a new study conducted on mice by researchers from the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden and the University of Copenhagen in Denmark. The analysis revealed that physical activity at an early active phase increased the expression of genes involved in the breakdown of fat (adipose) tissue, thermogenesis (heat production) and cells in the adipose tissue that indicate a higher metabolic rate.
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) affects close to 30 percent of the global population and over time, can lead to cirrhosis, also known as liver scarring, and cancer. Stine, a Penn State Cancer Institute researcher, and his team analyzed 14 studies including a total of 551 patients with NAFLD, who participated in randomized, controlled trials focusing on exercise interventions. The data evaluated included age, sex, body mass index, change in body weight, adherence to exercise protocols, and liver fat levels measured by MRI.
The results of the study, published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology, showed that 39 percent of patients prescribed greater than or equal to 750 metabolic equivalents of task (for example, 150 minutes per week of brisk walking) achieved significant responses compared to only 26 percent of those prescribed lesser amounts of exercise. This amount of exercise is enough to meet the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ recommendation of 150 minutes of moderate to intense aerobic activity per week, which can include a mix of moderate and vigorous aerobic activity such as cycling or brisk walking.
Due to the many shared basic physiological functions between mice and humans, mice are frequently used as a model for human physiology and metabolism. In contrast, one significant difference is that mice are active during the night. Before doctors can recommend that patients exercise at specific times of day, more research is needed to better understand the molecular mechanisms underlying the time-of-day-related impact of exercise on metabolism.
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