Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.


Timing tweaks exercise

Exercise is the elixir of health. However, timing can boost or blunt exercise performance and health benefits. Two complementary studies used transcriptomic and metabolomic tools to dissect how time of day affects the impact of exercise. The findings open new avenues for optimizing timing of physical activity to boost its benefits further.

Your institute does not have access to this article

Relevant articles

Open Access articles citing this article.

Access options

Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.


  1. Gabriel, B. M. & Zierath, J. R. Circadian rhythms and exercise — re-setting the clock in metabolic disease. Nat. Rev. Endocrinol. 15, 197–206 (2019).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Burke, L. M. & Hawley, J. A. Swifter, higher, stronger: what’s on the menu? Science 362, 781–787 (2018).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Sato, S. et al. Time of exercise specifies the impact on muscle metabolic pathways and systemic energy homeostasis. Cell Metab. (2019).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Ezagouri, S. et al. Physiological and molecular dissection of daily variance in exercise capacity. Cell Metab. (2019).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Sullivan, J. E. et al. Characterisation of 5′-AMP-activated protein kinase in human liver using specific peptide substrates and the effects of 5′-AMP analogues on enzyme activity. Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. 200, 1551–1556 (1994).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Narkar, V. A. et al. AMPK and PPARdelta agonists are exercise mimetics. Cell 134, 405–415 (2008).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Hatori, M. & Panda, S. The emerging roles of melanopsin in behavioral adaptation to light. Trends Mol. Med. 16, 435–446 (2010).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Savikj, M. et al. Afternoon exercise is more efficacious than morning exercise at improving blood glucose levels in individuals with type 2 diabetes: a randomised crossover trial. Diabetologia 62, 233–237 (2019).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Chaix, A. et al. Time-restricted feeding prevents obesity and metabolic syndrome in mice lacking a circadian clock. Cell Metab. 29, 303–319 (2019).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Hawley, J. A. et al. Maximizing cellular adaptation to endurance exercise in skeletal muscle. Cell Metab. 27, 962–976 (2018).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

Download references


Research in the Panda Lab is supported by the NIH (DK115214 and EY 016807), the Department of Homeland Security (EMW-2016-FP-00788) and the Department of Defense (W81XWH1810645). A.C. is supported by the American Heart Association (18CDA34110292).

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Satchidananda Panda.

Ethics declarations

Competing interests

S.P. authored “The Circadian Code” for which he collects author royalty. A.C. declares no competing interests.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Chaix, A., Panda, S. Timing tweaks exercise. Nat Rev Endocrinol 15, 440–441 (2019).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

Further reading


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing