Daily exercise at same time may realign body clock, boost health

Physical activities in the morning are associated with daily patterns of sleep-wake cycle. Photo: sanjeri/iStock

London: It's a proven fact that regular physical exercise has no alternative in boosting one's health and vitality. While some people are religiously punctual in following it, there are many who loose the steam after a certain point and go sedentary before resuming the regimen after signs of poor health show up again.

However, according to a new research, consistent daily patterns of exercise and rest can synchronise the local body clocks associated with joints and spine with the brain clock, potentially helping individuals to maintain skeletal health, improve athletic performance and avoid injury.

Though the study, published in Nature Communications, involved mice, the scientists suggest there is a high probability human cartilage and intervertebral disks - which have very similar physiological properties - will respond in a comparable way.

Scientists have long known that misalignment between the central body clock in the brain and other organs which have their own body clock - can increase the risk of pathology and diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
However, until now, very little was understood about the relationship between the clocks in joint cartilage -- which has no nerve or blood supply -- and the brain.

"We have in effect identified a new mechanism to understand how our body clocks align to the external environment. The clocks have evolved to prepare you for predictable rhythmic changes in the environment,” said Professor Qing-Jun Meng, a body clock expert from the varsity.

"Our results showed that physical activities in the morning, associated with daily patterns of sleep/wake cycle, convey timing information from the light-sensitive central clock in the brain to the weight-bearing skeletal tissues. In effect it's telling your skeletal system it's time to wake up,” Meng said.

However, when this alignment is uncoupled with the brain, then like in other organs and tissues, it can result in adverse impacts on your physical health.
Further, constantly changing the time of exercise can make a person more prone to this desynchronisation, the team said.

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