If you’ve ever started a new exercise plan or diet, you’ll most likely have been told many times that consistency is the key to reaching goals. Now, scientists for the first time have found that sticking to a daily routine of when you work out could be just as important for bone and joint health.
A study out of The University of Manchester has looked at internal body clocks to see how exercising at the same time of day can potentially shield against bone and joint deterioration, protecting against injury and stave off age-related physical decline and associated conditions such as arthritis.
"Among the many health challenges, the age-related musculoskeletal decline – and its adverse consequences – is a major burden to individuals,” said senior author Judith Hoyland, and spine/intervertebral disk expert from The University of Manchester. “We have identified a new clock mechanism underlying skeletal aging, which could have far-reaching impacts on understanding frailty and designing more efficient treatment timing of exercise and physiotherapy to maintain good skeletal health and mobility.”
Essentially, our behavioral and physiological patterns are somewhat governed by a 24-hour circadian ‘clock' that operates out of our brain’s suprachiasmatic nucleus in the hypothalamus on cues from the environment, such as light, dark and hunger.
"The daily 24-hour cycle that our bodies follow, such as our internal temperature dropping when we sleep and our blood pressure rising at certain times of day, is known as our circadian rhythm,” said Lucy Donaldson, Director of Research & Health Intelligence at collaborating organization Versus Arthritis. “There are processes inside our body which keep this rhythm going, known as 'clocks,' which are all linked to our central body clock in the brain.”
Studies have shown that if those other clocks are out of whack with our central timekeeper, it presents a higher risk of many health conditions including cardiovascular disease. Research suggests fat cells have their own biological clock, and the cardiovascular system's own ticker may explain the prevalence of morning heart attacks.
Now, for the first time, University of Manchester researchers have unlocked the mechanisms that make the body’s intervertebral disk and cartilage clocks tick. With no nerves nor blood supply, until now it has not been entirely clear that the brain’s circadian timekeeping is able to sync up with these unique body clocks.