Does Daylight Savings Time encourage physical activity?

J Phys Act Health. 2014 Jul;11(5):1057-60. doi: 10.1123/jpah.2012-0300. Epub 2013 May 13.


Background: Extending Daylight Savings Time (DST) has been identified as a policy intervention that may encourage physical activity. However, there has been little research on the question of if DST encourages adults to be more physically active.

Methods: Data from residents of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah ages 18-64 who participated in the 2003-2009 American Time Use Survey are used to assess whether DST is associated with increased time spent in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA). The analysis capitalizes on the natural experiment created because Arizona does not observe DST.

Results: Both bivariate and multivariate analyses indicate that shifting 1 hour of daylight from morning to evening does not impact MVPA of Americans living in the southwest.

Conclusions: While DST may affect the choices people make about the timing and location of their sports/recreational activities, the potential for DST to serve as a broad-based intervention that encourages greater sports/recreation participation is not supported by this analysis. Whether this null effect would persist in other climate situations is an open question.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Arizona
  • Colorado
  • Exercise
  • Female
  • Health Behavior*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Activity*
  • New Mexico
  • Public Policy*
  • Recreation*
  • Sports
  • Sunlight
  • Time*
  • Urban Population
  • Utah
  • Young Adult