We all know that time changes can mess with our sleep schedules, but did you know they can also impact our fitness routines? Whether we are springing forward or falling back, the changing clocks can throw a wrench into our workouts and health habits. But don't worry; there are ways to adapt and stay on track.
In this article, we will explore the health and fitness impact of time changes and offer some tips for coping with the disruption.
Time Changes and your Health
Time changes can significantly impact our health, both in the short and long term. So let's take a look at some of the ways time changes can affect our bodies:
The most immediate impact of time changes is on our sleep schedules. When we "spring forward," we lose an hour of sleep, and when we "fall back," we gain an hour. This sudden change in our sleep patterns can disrupt our circadian rhythm, leading to daytime fatigue, difficulty concentrating, and even mood changes. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, it can take up to a week for our bodies to adjust to the time change. During that time, we may experience disrupted sleep and daytime sleepiness.
Increased Risk of Health Problems
Over the long term, time changes can also increase our risk of several health problems. For example, studies have shown that there is an increase in heart attacks, strokes, and traffic accidents in the days immediately following the spring time change when we lose an hour of sleep. In addition, chronic sleep disruption has been linked to a higher risk of obesity, diabetes, and depression.
Impact on Fitness Routines
It is also worth noting that time changes can affect our body's natural rhythms and internal clock, making it harder to adjust to a new workout routine or schedule. Our bodies may take longer to adapt to a new exercise routine, and we may experience decreased performance or increased risk of injury if we push ourselves too hard. It is essential to listen to our bodies and give ourselves time to adjust to any changes in our fitness routine, especially during times of sleep disruption and fatigue. Remember that it is okay to take it easy and make adjustments as needed to ensure we care for our health and well-being.
Staying Fit through Time Changes
In this section, we will explore how to work on these serious issues and find ways to stay on track despite the impact of time changes on your fitness routine.
Adjust your sleep schedule gradually
One of the best things you can do to cope with time changes and maintain your fitness routine is to prioritize sleep. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep each night, and try to maintain a consistent sleep schedule, even on weekends. If you know that a time change is coming up, start preparing your body a few days in advance by gradually shifting your sleep schedule. For example, if you are preparing for the spring forward time change when we lose an hour of sleep, try going to bed 15 minutes earlier each night for four nights leading up to the time change. This can help your body adjust more smoothly and prevent the shock of losing an hour all at once. Additionally, if you are struggling with daytime fatigue or difficulty sleeping, try incorporating some relaxation techniques into your routine, such as yoga or meditation. These can help reduce stress and promote better sleep quality.
Be flexible with your Workout Schedule
During sleep disruption and fatigue, listening to your body and adjusting your workout routine as needed is essential. This may mean scaling back the intensity of your workouts or taking a few rest days to allow your body time to recover. If you usually exercise in the morning but find it hard to get up an hour earlier after the springtime change, consider switching to an evening workout routine. Alternatively, if you prefer outdoor exercise but find it hard to fit in a run or bike ride after work due to the shift in daylight hours, try switching to indoor workouts or adjusting your schedule to fit in exercise during daylight hours. Remember, pushing yourself too hard during times of stress and fatigue can increase the risk of injury and undermine your fitness goals.
Try a new Workout Routine
Consider trying something new if you struggle to stick to your regular workout routine due to time changes. This could be a new type of workout, such as yoga or strength training, or a new time of day to exercise. Or if you are looking for some inspiration and guidance, consider using a fitness app to mix up your routine. Many great apps are available, such as Fitbod, Freeletics, or Alpha Progression, which offer customized workout plans and progress tracking. These apps can also adjust the intensity of your workouts based on your fitness level, keeping things fresh and challenging. Check out our fitness app comparison page to find the best app for your needs and goals. Remember, trying something new can be a great way to overcome any fitness roadblocks caused by time changes and keep you on track toward achieving your fitness goals.
Fuel your Body with Nutritious Foods
Maintaining a balanced diet and proper hydration is essential for supporting your health and fitness goals, especially during times of stress and fatigue. Focus on incorporating nutrient-rich foods such as fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains while limiting your intake of processed and sugary foods. Additionally, proper hydration is crucial for overall health and fitness. Aim to drink at least eight glasses of water per day, and consider incorporating hydrating foods and beverages such as water-rich fruits and vegetables, coconut water, or herbal tea.
Some final Words
To maintain good health and fitness despite time changes, prioritize sleep, be flexible with your workout schedule, and listen to your body. To learn more about the importance of sleep for good fitness results, check out our previous article on the blog.
During stress and fatigue, remember to eat a balanced diet and stay hydrated. You can also try new workouts or fitness apps like Fitbod, Freeletics, or Alpha Progression to keep things fresh and exciting. And don't hesitate to seek support from friends, family, or a healthcare professional if needed. Having a support system can make navigating through the challenge of time changes and other stressors easier while staying motivated and accountable.