When is the right time to play sports and train? – Corriere.it

Of Cristina Marrone

Better to indulge in your biorhythm but beware of non-sporting habits: the gym in the evening with a late dinner has effects on the metabolism. Better have a snack first

There are those who train as soon as they wake up, before going to work, those who prefer a lunch break and those who opt for the late afternoon-evening to leave behind the worries of the office. The time we devote to our favorite sporting activity is often divided between work and family obligations. But is there a good time to exercise? To understand this, one must rely on chronobiology
this medical science that studies me biorhythms in our body in the different phases of day and night.

The role of hormones

During the day, the human body undergoes a series ofhormonal and metabolic changes which can affect response to training, he explains Carlotta Mutti, neurologist at the Sleep Medicine Center of the Parma Hospital. While on waking we see a peak of cortisol, the stress hormone also produced by physical activity, late afternoon testosterone rises
the anabolic hormone par excellence, which promotes the formation of muscular mass. Immediately after its peak, it begins to increase melatonin
then the body temperature is reduced and the organism begins to relax and prepare to fall asleep.

If we get there in the evening with an abundant cortisol loadto which theadrenaline and the endorphins released for the excitement of sports competition or intense training, it is easy for an i to performInterference with the action of melatonin and our body is in danger of short-circuiting, which makes it difficult to fall asleep. For all these reasons, experts they have always advised against training in the afternoon, or worse at nightbecause if it is true that physical exercise is associated with a good quality of sleep, it is also true that the situation can be reversed if the exercise is practiced just before falling asleep because in this case the quality of sleep may be compromised.

The moment

If in the past physical activity at sunset was very demonized and it was suggested to practice sport only in the morning or at the latest in the early afternoon, over time various studies on professional athletes and amateurs have shown that the repercussions on sleep don’t seem so dramatic, as long as leave the pool or gym at least two hours before going to bed. In fact, the most recent studies document that excessive physical activity in the evening does not upset the characteristics of sleep, as feared. The most affected sleep phase is Rem (where you dream the most)
, which decreases by 3% on average, a very low percentage. The remaining parameters (including sleep onset latency and sleep continuity) seem to remain unchanged by afternoon-evening physical activity.

A recent review of studies conducted by researchers at Concordia University in Montreal confirmed that the timing of exercise (late afternoon and evening) and the distance between rest time and the end of the activity affect the quality of rest. Overall, the analysis showed that when exercise ended at least two hours before bedtime, there were benefits on participants’ sleep quality, including an easier time falling asleep and a longer longer sleep, especially in sedentary subjects. Conversely, if the exercise ends less than two hours before falling asleep, the time to fall asleep is longer and the quality of sleep is lower.

Owls and larks

But beware, we are not all the same and everyone is predisposed to waking up and falling asleep at different times: the difference is the chronotype

, under which we divide into larks and owls. While larks (which tend to rise early and go to bed early) are naturally predisposed to morning workouts, owls (which, on the contrary, stay late at night and prefer to wake up calmly), biologically prefer the physical activity in the late afternoon or early evening. As much as possible it’s ok have indulged their biological clock because sport like sunlight and nutrition is a synchronizer of our organism recommends Mutti. If a lark has to do physical activity in the evening, it risks a misalignment of his circadian rhythm

thus losing the ability to maintain the biological clock that suits him. Conversely, the owl will have the opposite problem: if it is offered to play sports in the morning, it will tend to anticipate its sleep cycle, go to bed earlier in the evening and wake up early in the morning, but not the balance. for which he is naturally predisposed. .

However, sport is used as a chrono-regulator in sleep medicine. For an extreme owl patient who has serious difficulty waking up in the morning to go to work, we suggest exercising early in the day just to set the internal clock. Conversely, an early evening motor activity is recommended for a lark who wishes to slow down the pace. These cheats are only used if there is a serious problem to solve, otherwise it is good to indulge in your own chronotype.

Effects of evening training

Is evening sport then cleared? Studies are still few and precocious to claim to be able to do sport in the evening in complete peace of mind. More in-depth research is needed, on more numerous case histories and with prolonged follow-ups over time to understand the real impact on sleep of the sport practiced in this time slot warns Carlotta Mutti. In addition, the research does not take into account additional sports habits. Doing physical activity in the evening will tend to dine lateafter training, but an absolutely certain fact in the scientific literature that eating late carries an increased risk of adiposity, diabetes and metabolic problems
. It is therefore absolutely recommended to eat before training and not after so as not to cancel, or even aggravate, the benefits of physical movement, suggests the neurologist. Too those who work out late tend to overhydrate to compensate for thirst and exertion, but this behavior can easily cause waking up at night to go to the bathroom, thus making sleep fragmented. Proved that sleeping poorly, even for a single night, reduces athletic performance and strength in professional athletes. In addition, sleeping less than eight hours per night regularly increases the risk of sports-related musculoskeletal injury. Conversely, adequate and quality sleep improves the athlete’s responsiveness and alertness, while antagonizing stress and anxiety.

Schedules and objectives

The type of sport or your goals can also affect your training program. The time of day may be less important for endurance exercises such as running or cycling, while for those aiming for high performance that requires strength and power, the afternoon exercise seems to be the best and in these cases the ideal time window seems to be between 1pm and 6pm. In order not to risk interfering with the circadian rhythmin the evening it would be better to opt for lighter activities such as yoga, pilates or any low intensity sport. If, on the other hand, the main objective of theweight loss workout, then it is advisable to do it in the morningpossibly on an empty stomach and for about 30 minutes, because in this way the body will mainly use fat reserves as a source of energy.

March 11, 2022 (change March 12, 2022 | 7:30 PM)

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