A magazine for friends of the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.

Consistency Is Key


Daily routines may be unexciting, but when it comes to exercise, turns out boring is best.

In a study of 375 adults who have successfully maintained weight loss and who do moderate- to vigorous-intensity workouts, most reported that they exercised at the same time of day, most often in the early morning.

And regardless of what time people exercised, the Obesity study found that working out at a regular time was associated with higher physical activity levels.

“Our findings warrant future experimental research to determine whether promoting consistency in the time of day that planned and structured physical activity is performed can help individuals achieve and sustain higher levels of physical activity,” says senior author Dale Bond, PhD, professor of psychiatry and human behavior (research).

The Department of Health and Human Services’ exercise guidelines for adults advise a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity each week to see “substantial health benefits.”

The study subjects were all participants in the National Weight Control Registry. The registry tracks adults who have lost more than 30 pounds and maintained it for more than one year to help researchers identify the practices that help people lose weight and keep it off.

Leah Schumacher RES’19, PhD, the paper’s first author and a postdoctoral fellow in the Clinical Psychology Training Program, says in the future they’re hoping to study “whether there is a specific time of day that is more advantageous for individuals who have initial low physical activity levels to develop a physical activity habit.”


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