A recent study, published in The Journal of Physiology, suggests that exercising may help shift-based workers cope better with all the exhaustion and discomfort.
Dealing with shift work or jet lag can be a difficult task. The persistent headache, nausea and the discomfort can disturb you and ruin your day. Exercise may shift the human body clock and help you regulate to the shifted schedules.
How exercise improves jet lag
Though exercise has a very slight direct impact on your internal clock, it can increase the quality and length of your sleep during the adjustment period. This happens because, under normal circumstances, circadian rhythms in the day peak earlier when we are the most active.
The study, conducted by a group of researchers the Arizona State University, shows that exercise could help shift your body clock forward or backward. And this shifting occurs depending on whether you do it in the morning/afternoon or in the evening. This finding could help individuals deal with disruptions to the body’s internal clock like jet lag.
The study team found that physical exercise at 7 is or between 1 pm and 4 pm shifted the internal clock of the body to an earlier time. While exercising between 7 pm and 10 pm delayed it. Working out in the middle of the night (1 am to 4 am) or mid-morning (10 am) had a very slight effect.
Our body clock also called a circadian rhythm. It is the 24-hour cycle of the physiological processes. These processes are regulated in our body when we are hungry, sleepy, and so on. This cycle of the body depends on both internal and external factors.
Exercise has thought to be involved, but its particular role has remained uncertain. This study, although, given the fact that the participants were active people, the findings might not describe the average person.
Findings of the study
Researchers of the study propose that exercise has been known to cause some changes to our body clock. This study clearly describes when exercise delays the body clock and when it advances it.
Moreover, this is the first study which compares the effects of exercise on the body clock and could open up the likelihood of using the workout to help counter the undesirable effects of jet lag.
The study team, from ASU and the University of California, San Diego, observed the body clock of 101 participants. These individuals were observed for up to 5.5 days after they’d exercised. They measured the melatonin levels in the urine of volunteers. Then, they used their hormone’s peak for the determination of the body clock’s baseline timing.
After its establishment, participants walked or ran for an hour on a treadmill during a particular time for three consecutive days. Then, the team re-assessed each participant’s body clock after the third session and looked for any changes from the baseline.
Moreover, the team plans to continue to inspect this more. They are inquisitive to find out more about the intensity of exercise’s influence on the circadian cycle. And govern whether the shift can be increased and decreased by joining exercise with exposure to bright lights or melatonin.