It is a well-established fact that exercising or engaging in physical activities can help you lose weight. But at what time of the day you should be hitting the gym to get the best results?

A recent study has revealed that burning calories early in the morning may help you get toned.

In the study, published in the journal Obesity, researchers have concluded that doing moderate to vigorous physical activities between 7am and 9am can give you better results if you are aiming for weight loss. The study observed that those working out in the morning had lower Body Mass Index (BMI) and waist circumference than those who performed physical activities during midday or in the evening.

For the study, researchers analysed data from a total of 5,285 people who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) from the 2003-2004 and 2005-2006 cycles. The participants were told to wear an accelerometer on their right hip during waking hours for seven consecutive days. The data recorded by the device helped researchers track the participants’ physical activities.

It was found that those who worked out between 7am and 9am had an average BMI of 27.5 while those who exercised during midday and evening had a higher BMI at 28.3. In addition, those active in the early hours also had a smaller waist circumference of 37.7 inches on average as compared to people who exercised during the day (38.5 inches) and in the evening (38.4 inches).

The authors took several factors into consideration when analysing the data. These included age, sex, ethnicity, education, tobacco use, alcohol consumption, sedentary behaviour, and the amount of physical activity.

“My cautious suggestion from this study is that if we choose to exercise in the early morning before we eat, we can potentially lose more weight compared to exercise at other times of the day”, lead researcher Tongyu Ma, a research assistant professor at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, told NBC News.

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