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Daily Dose: Morning Exercise Reduces Risk for Cardiovascular Disease


Patient Care brings primary care clinicians a lot of medical news every day—it’s easy to miss an important study. The Daily Dose provides a concise summary of one of the website's leading stories you may not have seen.

On December 5, 2022, we reported on a study published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology that analyzed the association between timing of daily physical activity and multiple cardiovascular disease (CVD) outcomes.

The study

Researchers used data from the UK Biobank to examine the association between intraday patterns of physical activity and CVD incidence. Included in the study were 86 657 adults aged 42 to 78 years who did not have a prior diagnosis of CVD at baseline. Participants wore an activity tracker on their wrist for 7 consecutive days and were followed for a period of 6 years for incident CVD, which was defined for the purpose of the study as the first hospital admission or death related to CAD or stroke.

In a second analysis, investigators divided participants into the following 4 groups based on the peak time of physical activity: midday, early morning, late morning, and evening. Associations between peak time and incident CVD were analyzed using midday as the reference group.

The results

After adjusting for age and sex, results showed that participants who were most active in the early morning or late morning had 11% and 16% lower risks of incident CAD, respectively, compared to the reference group. Also, adults in group 3 had a 17% decreased risk of incident stroke compared with the reference group. These effects were more pronounced in women.

The results were consistent regardless of the total amount of daily physical activity and whether participants described themselves as a morning person or evening person.

Clinical implications

"Physical activity remains one of the most distinct cornerstones in CVD prevention. The present study adds to the previous evidence that timing of physical activity is an additional independent contributing factor to CVD risk, and therefore adds a novel dimension to CVD risk prevention."

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