Type 2 Diabetes: Control Your Blood Sugar Levels by Working Out in the Morning or Evening?

A study published on November 1 in the Journal Diabetologia concluded that exercising between noon and midnight can significantly reduce insulin resistance compared to activity earlier in the day. This article examines the research and findings of this study.

All Participants Were Obese or Overweight

The team analyzed data from the Netherlands Epidemiology of Obesity (NEO) study. This involved men and women aged 45 and 65 who had a body mass index (BMI) of 27 or higher.

Next, they invited all inhabitants between 45 and 65 years old alongside a BMI representative of the general population from one Netherlands municipality as a control group. This was for a study population of almost 6,700 people.

Evening Exercise Cuts Insulin Resistance by 25%

The researchers discovered that exercising in the afternoon was connected to an 18% reduction in insulin resistance compared to distributing activity throughout the day. Working out in the evening was also connected to a 25% reduction.

The Large Difference Was Surprising

Jeroen van der Velde, the lead study author, said he wasn’t shocked that afternoon or evening physical activity looks most beneficial. This was because previous studies involving patients with diabetes showed the most beneficial effects on glucose control happened when high-intensity exercise was done in the afternoon.

Van der Velde also said his team noted differences of up to 25% in insulin resistance between those most active in the evening compared to the group with distributed intense exercise throughout the day.

Understanding the Benefits of Exercise Timing

Van der Velde said we are just starting to understand the health benefits of physical activity timing. He also said there is a need to understand if shifting daily activity from the morning to the afternoon or evening will improve insulin sensitivity.

Why exercise helps insulin resistance

Dr. Ricardo Correa said glucose can get into your cells either through the insulin receptor or exercise. He also said exercise can help with blood sugar control, boosting insulin sensitivity.

Additionally, Correa said it is controversial to say that one time is better than the other for exercise. He also said that the study’s findings were conducted on a small group and needed to be taken with a grain of salt.


New research discovered a connection between exercising later in the day and a drop in insulin resistance in overweight or obese individuals. However, experts still say you can still work out whenever you want as exercise is still beneficial at any time.