This week, we explore how simple hacks in the timing of your workouts or when you have a cup o’ joe can have scientifically proven benefits for your health and performance.
What time of day is the body at its physical peak?
Circadian rhythm patterns can vary person to person, but for almost everyone, the morning is a time where the body is still warming up—figuratively and literally. A morning jog can be a great way to start the day, but heart rate, body temperature, and muscle readiness will be lower at this time. The body’s physical peak is actually the late afternoon, when temperature and muscle readiness reach a zenith, but this is sometimes the period of time of the biggest mental slump. Ultimately, the time of day that’s best for exercise is up to individual preference and whatever fits into your routine.
What quick fix may help you feel less sore the next day?
Caffeine has been well researched as an ergogenic aid, beneficial for both endurance sport performance as well as resistance training. Studies have now shown that a well-timed shot of espresso may help your muscles recover quicker, too. Participants in a study who ingested caffeine before performing a series of bicep curls felt less muscle soreness in the days that followed than those that abstained. A good excuse to take a detour to the cafe before your next trip to the gym!
What keeps blood sugar from going up after a meal?
It’s natural for blood sugar to increase after a meal, but if it swings up too high and then later crashes too low it can predispose you to cardiometabolic diseases like diabetes or heart attack, even if you’re otherwise healthy. But there’s a simple solution that works well for most people—go for a short walk after you eat. Just a 10 minute walk a few minutes after a meal can help control blood sugar and lead to better health outcomes. It can also keep you from experiencing mood disturbances related to fluctuations in blood sugar like the infamous “sugar crash.”