Circadian rhythms differ between young adult males and females. For example, males tend to be later chronotypes, preferring later timing of sleep and activity, than females. Likewise, there are sex differences in body composition and cardiorespiratory fitness. Few studies have investigated the association between circadian rhythms, cardiorespiratory fitness, and body composition. We sought to determine whether chronotype and circadian phase were associated with cardiorespiratory fitness, body composition, and anthropometric measures in sedentary males and females. Fifty-nine adults participated in the study. Circadian phase and chronotype were measured using dim light melatonin onset (DLMO) and the Morningness–Eveningness Questionnaire (MEQ) score. We used peak oxygen uptake (VO2peak) results from a maximal graded exercise test to assess cardiorespiratory fitness. Body composition, BMI, and circumferences were collected as markers of adiposity. We observed a sex difference in the association between DLMO and VO2peak. For males, a later DLMO was associated with a lower VO2peak. VO2peak did not vary based on DLMO in females. Later circadian phase was also associated with increased body fat percentage, fat mass index, and abdominal circumference in males, but not females. Collectively, these results suggest that males who are later chronotypes may be at risk of obesity and low cardiorespiratory fitness.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere15924
JournalPhysiological Reports
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 The Authors. Physiological Reports published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of The Physiological Society and the American Physiological Society.


  • circadian phase
  • dim light melatonin onset
  • graded exercise test
  • sex difference

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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