integr med res 2 (2013) 139–144
Available online at www.sciencedirect.com
Integrative Medicine Research
journal homepage: www.imr-journal.com
Morning and evening exercise
Dae Yun Seoa, SungRyul Leea, Nari Kim a, Kyung Soo Koa,
Byoung Doo Rheea, Byung Joo Parkb, Jin Hana,∗
aNational Research Laboratory for Mitochondrial Signaling, Department of Physiology, College of Medicine,
Cardiovascular and Metabolic Disease Center, Inje University, Busan, Korea
bDivision of Leisure and Sports Science, Dong Seo University, Busan, Korea
Received 6 September 2013
Received in revised form
4 October 2013
Accepted 4 October 2013
Available online 14 October 2013
A growing body of evidence suggests that exercise may contribute to preventing patho-
logical changes, treating multiple chronic diseases, and reducing mortality and morbidity
ratios. Scientiﬁc evidence moreovershows that exercise plays a key role in improving health-
related physical ﬁtness components and hormone function. Regular exercise training is one
of the few strategies that has been strictly adapted in healthy individuals and in athletes.
However, time-dependent exercise has different outcomes, based on the exercisetype, dura-
tion, and hormone adaptation. In the present review, we therefore brieﬂy describe the type,
duration, and adaptation of exercise performed in the morning and evening. In addition, we
discuss the clinical considerations and indications for exercise training.
© 2013 Korea Institute of Oriental Medicine. Published by Elsevier. This is an open access
article under the CC BY-NC-ND license
Increased muscle strength and cardiac ﬁtness reﬂect regular
physical activity.1–3 This reﬂection is strongly associated with
time-dependent exercise.4,5 Recent studies have attempted to
elucidate the manner in which different exercise types and
duration are involved in the regulation of several physiological
responses through morning and evening exercise because this
information is important in improving muscle ﬁtness, aerobic
capacity, and well-being.5–8
The beneﬁcial effect obtained from exercise is gener-
ally determined by multiple systems such as the motor,
physiological, and neurobiological systems.9–11 In particular,
physiological and neurobiological activities are dependent on
biological rhythms in the human body; this is also known
∗Corresponding author. National Research Laboratory for Mitochondrial Signaling, Department of Physiology, College of Medicine, Car-
diovascular and Metabolic Disease Center, Inje University, 633-165 Gaegeum-Dong, Busanjin-Gu, Busan 614-735, Korea.
E-mail address: email@example.com (J. Han).
as circadian or diurnal rhythms.12–15 This phenomenon has
been widely described in time-of-day studies. Despite the fact
that the data in the literature have shown a signiﬁcant asso-
ciation between time and aerobic exercise,16–18 other studies
have not indicated any such circadian variations.19–21 These
results indicate that the time-course effects of aerobic exer-
cise on maximal aerobic velocity and exhaustion time remain
unclear.11,14 Other reports have described the use of time-of-
day for resistance exercise.22–24 The results of time variations
during resistance exercise (which involve muscle strength,
power, and sprint) range from 3% to 21.2%, depending on the
individual being tested, the position of the muscles, and the
The warm-up duration, sleep deprivation, and training
time prior to exercise training can be affected by diurnal
variation.27,28 Sedliak et al29 report that exercise performed in
2213-4220/© 2013 Korea Institute of Oriental Medicine. Published by Elsevier. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license
140 Integr Med Res (2013) 139–144
the morning can improve muscle strength. However, another
study obtained contradicting results and showed that par-
ticipants were able to perform more physical activity in the
evening, despite the lower physiological variation at this
time.30 However, variations in the neuromuscular perfor-
mance level increased during evening exercise. Thus, further
information on the differences in the effects of morning and
evening exercises is required. In this review, we discuss the
exercise effects on aerobic and anaerobic performance, on
short and long duration, and on hormone adaptation through
time-of-day exercise studies.
2. Differential effect of exercise type
2.1. Aerobic training
In general, aerobic exercise plays a role in weight loss
management,31 and improves peak maximal oxygen con-
sumption (VO2max)32 and workload.33 Several studies have
recently conﬁrmed the presence of time-of-day effects of exer-
cise on these variables.34,35 Therefore, health and disease
outcomes in response to exercise may depend on the time
of day the exercise is performed.36,37 Hobson et al38 suggest
the existence of a time-of-day effect on aerobic exercise for
improving aerobic exercise capacity. The authors observed
that the endurance exercise capacity of men during exhaus-
tive cycling exercise at 65% peak VO2was signiﬁcantly greater
in the morning than in the evening. In addition, Shiotani et
al30 found that a two-month aerobic exercise program, which
consisted of ergometer cycling, increased the heart rate in the
morning. However, another study found that an evening exer-
cise training group had a greater work capacity after 5 weeks
of high-intensity training, compared to the morning exercise
training group.39 Faisal et al40 similarly indicated the presence
of a time-of-day speciﬁcity on the effects of aerobic exercise
training. Therefore, the studies in the literature indicate that
different effects may be elicited, depending on the exercise
duration, time, and the individual.
2.2. Resistance training
Resistance exercise elicits improved muscle strength and
power, and elicits changes in anabolism/catabolism, depend-
ing on the time of the day.41,42 Souissi et al43 found that,
compared to evening exercise, morning exercise yielded
more beneﬁcial effects on anaerobic performance after 6
weeks of resistance training. After examining study partic-
ipants who underwent resistance training for 6 weeks in
the morning, Chtourou et al27 similarly noted that muscle
performance—determined by the one-repetition, squat jump,
and Wingate tests—was signiﬁcantly higher among this group
than among individuals who performed resistance training in
the evening. By contrast, certain researchers have reported
that evening exercise is more effective than morning exer-
cise, and one study showed a signiﬁcant improvement in peak
muscle power in well-trained cyclists in the evening than in
the morning.44 Furthermore, Edwards et al45 showed that grip
strength, isokinetic knee ﬂexion, peak power, and peak torque
were higher in the evening than in the morning.
However, Sedliak et al46,47 observed that after 10 weeks of
exercise in a diurnal pattern the maximum isometric strength
was not altered in the morning and evening. In a similar study,
some researchers indicated that no time-of-day changes were
observed in muscular anaerobic performance. Chtourou et al48
measured electromyography (EMG) activity in study partici-
pants performing the 30-second Wingate test in the morning
and evening; however, the authors did not note any signiﬁ-
cant differences in EMG activity during the entire 30seconds
between the morning and evening exercise. In another study,
Chtourou et al27 similarly indicated that, after 8 weeks of
lower extremity progressive resistance training, the muscle
strength was similar between the participants who performed
the exercise in the morning and participants who performed
the exercise in the evening. Sedliak et al47 did not show any
time-of-day-speciﬁc adaptations during unilateral isometric
knee extension peak torque training. Zarrouk et al49 inves-
tigated the time-of-day effects on repeated sprint ability, but
did not observe any signiﬁcant time-of-day effects on the EMG
activity levels of four thigh muscles during a repeated ped-
aling sprint exercise. Chtourou et al50 moreover showed no
signiﬁcant difference in muscular power or strength between
the morning and evening tests. To understand better the
time-of-day effects on muscle strength responses, future stud-
ies should assess the main physiological variations following
resistance exercise adaptations.
2.3. Differential effect of exercise duration
Many scientists have investigated different exercise types,
times, durations, and intensities of exercise training. Exercise
duration is particularly important. Many studies have shown
that short-term performance changes with different exer-
cise times. In addition, short-term exercise training, which
enhances anabolic metabolism, can be inﬂuenced by several
factors such as time-of-day training.47,51 In previous stud-
ies, exercise training improved anaerobic performance in the
morning and/or evening29,46 (Table 1). Most investigations
have shown that evening exercise is better than morning
exercise.27,47,50,52 Souissi et al43 indicated that 6 weeks of resis-
tance training in 10-year-old and 11-year-old boys improved
muscle strength and power to a signiﬁcantly greater extent in
the evening than in the morning. Brisswalter et al53 investi-
gated the effects of moderate exercise and determined that
VO2kinetics were signiﬁcantly higher in the morning than in
the evening. Souissi et al28 observed the effect of different
exercise training times on anaerobic performance, includ-
ing peak anaerobic power, jump performance, and peak knee
extension toque. Their study found that the group that was
trained in the evening had greater improvements in anaerobic
performance. Lricollais et al54 moreover showed that, during
the 60 second Wingate test, muscle fatigue was lower in the
evening than in the morning.
Long-term exercise has beneﬁcial effects on aerobic capac-
ity, cardiac function, and rehabilitation. In particular, this type
of exercise is important in exercises involving time trials such
as cycling, rowing, swimming, running, football, and table ten-
nis. In a previous study, Deschenes et al21 observed that during
aerobic exercise, the mean arterial blood pressure was higher
D.Y. Seo et al/Morning and evening exercise 141
Table1–Theeffect of time of day on short-term exercises.
Refs Participants Age (y) Measurement parameters Acrophase Amplitude
Atkinson et al69 Trained (n=7)
Trained, 23.9 ±3.3
Untrained, 24.3 ±24
Back and leg strength
Flight time in a vertical
Self-chosen work rate
17:00–19:00 h Trained > untrained
(∼2–10% vs. ∼1–7%)
Wyse et al70 9 Collegiate
19.6 ±9.6 Extension peak torque
Flexion peak torque
18.00–19.30 h ∼5–12%
Gauthier et al52 13 Physical
M: 22.0 ±: 22.0
Elbow ﬂexor torque 18:00 h ∼4%
Martin et al71 13 Healthy
(12 M and 1 F)
22–40 MVC 18:00 h 8.9%
Callared et al72 6M
33.4 ±3.4 MVC 19:30 h 6%
Souissi et al73 13 M physical
22.4 ±2.4 Maximal power during
the force velocity test
18:00 h 8.3%
Castaingts et al74 11 M 18–30 MVC 18:00 h 8.6%
F, female; M, male; MVC, maximal voluntary contraction; NS, not signiﬁcant.
Note. From “The effect of training at a speciﬁc time of day: a review”, by H. Chtourou and N. Souissi, 2012, J Strength Cond Res,26, p.1984–2005.
Copyright 2013, Wolters Kluwer Health. Reprinted with permission.
in the morning than in the evening (Table 2). In agreement
with these studies, Edwards et al55 investigated the effect of
submaximal cycling at 60% of VO2max, and found that the
morning exercise group exhibited greater improvements in
lactate levels, compared to the evening exercise group.43 By
contrast, Reilly and Garrett19 indicated a higher power out-
put during a 60-minute cycle ergometer test in the evening
than in the morning. Atkinson and Reilly13 also indicated that,
after a 1.6-km time trail exercise, the heart rate and blood
lactate levels exhibited greater improvements in the evening
exercise group than in the morning exercise group. However,
previous studies did not indicate any difference in the time-of-
day effect on exhaustion during maximal19,21 and submaximal
2.4. Hormone adaptation
The role of adrenal steroids in response to exercise train-
ing is very important for improving muscle cell and protein
synthesis.56–58 Many researchers have revealed different time-
of-day effects of anabolic hormones (such as testosterone
and cortisol) on muscle strength and protein synthesis within
skeletal muscle.6,59,60 Testosterone is a male sex hormone and
its anabolic effects are observed during male adolescence and
adulthood.61 During exercise training and physical activity,
the main effect of testosterone is on insulin sensitivity and
on the maintenance of muscle protein synthesis within the
Cortisol is catabolic in nature, and is a stress hormone.64
Florini65 found that cortisol exerts catabolic effects on
muscle tissue. Increased cortisol levels may also inhibit
protein synthesis.66 Testosterone and cortisol both exhibit
diurnal variations in peak concentrations in the morn-
ing and/or evening.67 Florini65 observed increased cortisol
levels in the morning, which may stimulate an increase
in glucogenesis, proteolytic activity, and skeletal protein
turnover.59 This effect may generate the catabolic sta-
tus of muscle tissue. Increased testosterone levels may
Table2–Theeffect of time of day on longterm exercises.
Refs Participants Age (y) Measurement parameters Acrophase
Dalton et al20 7 M competitive cyclists
22.3 ±2.3 Total work during a timed trial cycling
performance of 15-min duration
Average power output during a time trial cycling
performance of 15 min duration
Bessot et al72,75 10 M competitive
21.5 ±1.5 Free pedal rate during 4 ×5min cycling exercise NS
55 8 M recreational cyclists 24.3 ±4 Work rate during 30-min submaximal cycling at
60% of VO2max
M, male; NS, not signiﬁcant; VO2max, maximal oxygen consumption.
Note. From “The effect of training at a speciﬁc time of day: a review”, by H. Chtourou and N. Souissi, 2012, J Strength Cond Res,26, p. 1984–2005.
Copyright 2013, Wolters Kluwer Health. Reprinted with permission.
142 Integr Med Res (2013) 139–144
furthermore offset the effects of cortisol on skeletal protein
Several investigators have indicated that hormonal
responses can be inﬂuenced by the time of exercise training
and the intensity, and duration of exercise. Sedliak et al29
indicated that testosterone levels did not change in response
to resistance training in the morning. Another study showed
that 10 weeks of training did not induce any signiﬁcant
differences in testosterone and cortisol levels.24 Deschenes et
al21 also report that resistance exercise has no effect on the
diurnal variations in cortisol and testosterone levels. However,
Bird and Tarpenning23 showed that cortisol levels were lower
in the evening than in the morning. These results suggest
that the skeletal muscle metabolism may be improved at
that time of the day. However, further research is required
to support the use of different exercise timings, based on
The present study indicates the defenses in the time-of-day
effects of exercise, exercise type, exercise duration, and hor-
mone adaptation among healthy individuals. However, we did
not assess the beneﬁcial time-of-day effect in patients with a
chronic disease. Therefore, if further studies assess the bene-
ﬁcial time-of-day effect in patients with chronic disease, such
studies should carefully consider only the results of physio-
The literature contains more than 70 different exercise types,
times, and hormonal adaptations. In the present review, we
conﬁrm that the diurnal or hormone variations lead to dif-
ferences in physical performance, depending on the time of
the day. In addition, the results indicate differences in phys-
ical performance for exercise performed in the morning and
evening, thus suggesting that these factors should be consid-
ered by scientists, coaches, and athletes.
Conﬂicts of interest
All authors have no conﬂicts of interest to declare.
This work was supported by the 2005 Inje University research
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