There is growing evidence that the amount of time we exercise affects our performance and health, but can we train our bodies to perform at their best at different times of the day?
In a few months, the world’s top athletes will gather in Paris to compete for the ultimate prize in sport: Olympic gold. Those looking for a chance to make history with a record-breaking performance might want to take a look at the clock before they hit the starting blocks.
At least that’s possible for swimmers, according to one scientific study. The swimming times of 144 medal-winning swimmers at his four Olympic Games in Athens (2004), Beijing (2008), London (2012) and Rio (2016) were recorded in the early evening hours. It turned out that the fastest time was when I entered the race. Specifically, around 5:12 p.m.. This is part of a growing body of evidence suggesting improved physical performance. affected by time zone.
This phenomenon is not only seen in decorated Olympic athletes, but also in recreational cyclists. Faster time trial in the evening. Resistance exercise is particularly sensitive to time of day, and performance almost always suffers. Peak time is between 4pm and 8pm.It seems like it has something to do with the time of day. Exercise affects men and women differently.
But what if your schedule only allows you time to exercise at 7 a.m.? There are some signs that you might be able to adjust your peak athletic performance time.
The root cause of differences in our bodies’ performance and response to exercise is circadian rhythm – The body’s molecular clock, which is responsible for regulating behaviors such as sleep and appetite throughout the 24-hour period.
Central clock in the hypothalamus of the brain react to light Exposure via signals from the optic nerve. The suprachiasmatic nucleus, known as the circadian pacemaker located in the hypothalamus, sends signals to peripheral clocks in other organs, muscle tissue, and fat tissue, keeping the entire body in sync. However, these peripheral clocks can be adjusted by other cues, such as when we eat or engage in certain activities. “Skeletal muscle clock” This is how you react when you exerciseso you can adjust by exercising regularly at different times.
But while this can affect performance, it can also change how exercise affects your health.
Exercise physiologist Julien Zielas of the Karolinska Institute in Sweden studies the interaction between exercise and the circadian system.She and her colleagues discovered rats exercising in the morning. burn more fat. Zieras says the findings suggest that exercising at optimal times may: Maximize the health benefits of exercise For people with metabolic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and obesity.
“While everyone agrees that exercise is good regardless of the time of day, it may be possible to fine-tune the metabolic consequences of exercise based on the time of day,” Zierras says.
Their findings mirror recent research in humans, showing that an hour of exercise regimen in the morning one day a week, including resistance training, interval sprints, stretching, and endurance, can be beneficial. It has been shown that Lower abdominal fat and blood pressure in women. Interestingly, when women performed the same exercises in the evening, their muscle performance improved.
For men, evening exercise helped lower blood pressure and promote the breakdown of body fat.
However, research in this area is still evolving, and recent analysis of previous studies suggests that the evidence is somewhat inconclusive regarding the effects of favorable times of day on exercise. performance or health benefits.
One reason for this is almost certainly the differences that exist between individuals. for example, Best athletic performance varies Individuals with early chronotypes and individuals with late chronotypes (also known as morning larks and night owls).
“The timing of our clocks varies,” says Karin Esser, a physiologist at the University of Florida in Gainesville. “Our lark clock probably runs a little less than 24 hours, and the owl human probably has a clock that runs a little longer than 24 hours.”
But if your circadian rhythm prevents you from performing at your best at set times, exercise may also help. “Reset” your muscle clock.
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Esser and his research group found that by subjecting mice to sustained morning endurance running training, the rodent’s body could adapt to the new exercise regime.This exercise appears to alter the molecular clocks in skeletal muscle and lung tissue. at an earlier time.
The researchers’ latest study, which has not yet been published in a peer-reviewed journal, found that the magnitude of adaptation in performance was: More noticeable in mice trained in the morning, compared to those who trained in the afternoon. After 6 weeks of training, both morning and afternoon mice achieved the same maximal endurance performance.
Researchers suggest that if a similar effect is found in humans, athletes may be able to readjust their body’s “muscle clock” with proper training. There is some preliminary evidence that exercise can: Changes human circadian rhythms, so could probably be useful for people adjusting to shift work or jet lag.
“The simple idea here is that our muscle clocks are actually paying attention during training,” says Esser.
Routine seems to be the key – our bodies adapt better to training when we train regularly. same time zone.
“If you’re going to compete, whether you’re a civilian or an elite athlete, you should try to get race-day-specific training,” Zieras says. “Align your training time to match the time you need to perform or perform at your best.”
However, most researchers are keen to point out that exercising at any time is beneficial. But if you find a time that works and stick with it, your body may adapt to give you an added advantage.
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