Effect of morning versus evening exercise training on sleep, physical activity, fitness, fatigue and quality of life in overweight and obese adults

Chronobiol Int. 2021 Nov;38(11):1537-1548. doi: 10.1080/07420528.2021.1935988. Epub 2021 Jun 15.


This study compares the effectiveness of a 12-week moderate exercise training program (METP), performed in the morning versus the evening, on sleep, physical activity, physical fitness, sleepiness, fatigue and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in overweight and obese patients. Sedentary and inactive overweight/obese adults (n = 36) were included in METP and randomized into two groups: morning group (GM) and evening group (GE). Twenty-eight participants successfully completed METP (3 × 90 min exercise session per week for 12 weeks, completion rates >80%). Sleep, physical activity, and bedtime temperature were measured using accelerometry and infrared tympanic temperature during 3 separate weeks of the study (Week1, Week6, and Week12). Participants also took part in baseline and endpoint assessments including physical fitness as well as subjective physical activity, chronotype, sleep quality, sleepiness, fatigue and HRQoL. METP did not impact objective sleep quality differently between the two groups (morning vs evening). Bedtime and mid-sleep were advanced when METP was done in the morning whereas they were delayed when METP was practiced in the early evening (p = .003). Beside this finding, no valuable differences between the two groups were noted in all the remaining measures. METP resulted in improvements of body composition, cardiorespiratory and muscular endurance, as well as a favorable impact on subjective sleep quality, diurnal sleepiness, fatigue and HRQoL in both groups (all p < .05). Evening METP could be an effective alternative for overweight/obese adults when morning METP is not possible.

Keywords: Accelerometry; body composition; physical abilities; sleep duration; sleep quality.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Circadian Rhythm*
  • Exercise
  • Fatigue / therapy
  • Humans
  • Obesity / therapy
  • Overweight / therapy
  • Quality of Life*
  • Sleep