An increase in physical activity at certain times of the day may help to reset a person’s body clock, Inverse reports.
A new study conducted in extremely athletic mice and electrically stimulated cells suggests that exercise (or muscle contractions) can help advance, or delay the circadian rhythms of peripheral clocks located in the muscle tissue. Timing, however, appears to be key.
When mice exercised five hours into their resting phase (which would be the middle of the night for humans), they “advanced” the phase of those muscular clocks by 100 minutes on average. When they exercised one hour before that resting phase ended (which would be an hour before wakeup time for humans) they delayed the phase of those muscular clocks by 62 minutes.
The authors write that exercise may serve as “a time cue for the muscle clock.” This suggests that using our muscles could be one way to help the body keep time, and reset those clocks if their typical rhythms become altered — something that’ sometimes happens when we live out of sync with our natural rhythms (as night-shift workers often do).