An international team of scientists has carried out a study to help gauge how and why exercise performed at different times of the day can have different effects on the body.

The research focused on how the body produces different health-promoting signalling molecules which have a broad impact on health, influencing sleep, memory, exercise performance and metabolic homeostasis.

Researchers looked at how exercise can produce the signalling molecules in an organ-specific manner depending on the time of day.

The result is the publication of an ‘Atlas of Exercise Metabolism’ – a complete map of exercise-induced signalling molecules present in different tissues following exercise at different times of day.

Jonas Thue Treebak, co-first author of the study and associate professor at the Center for Basic Metabolic Research at the University of Copenhagen, said the study is the first of its kind and will have an impact on exercise regimes.

“Not only do we show how different tissues respond to exercise at different times of the day, but we also propose how these responses are connected to induce an orchestrated adaptation that controls systemic energy homeostasis,” he said.

Other new insights from the study include a deeper understanding of how tissues communicate with each other, and how exercise can help to ‘realign’ faulty circadian rhythms in specific tissues – faulty circadian clocks have been linked to increased risks of obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Shogo Sato, fellow co-first author and assistant professor at the Department of Biology and the Center for Biological Clocks Research at Texas A&M University, added: "It’s an important study that helps to direct further research that can help us better understand how exercise – if timed correctly – can help to improve health."

The study also identified new exercise-induced signalling molecules in multiple tissues, which need further investigation to understand how they can individually or collectively influence health.

Liz Terry, editor of HCM, said: "These are incredibly important research findings that will enable health club, spa and wellness operators to offer significantly more impactful interventions.

"It will now be possible to design exercise schedules to enable members and customers to achieve specific outcomes in terms of wellbeing, enabling operators to significantly raise their game in terms of delivering benefits to customers.

"Access to this knowledge will also enable the health and fitness and spa and wellness sectors to move more closely to the health and medical sectors in terms of proving efficacy and being an effective partner.

"We hope wellness-related operators will seize on this work and use it to refine programmes and scheduling for the benefit of customers and the wider sector."

To read the research, ​​click here.