Scientists have looked into the subject of how bodies function at certain times of the day and concluded that some of us are “early birds” and others are “night owls” — yet nobody is asking whether certain days of the week are more beneficial than others for runners.
Not to worry. We are about to cull data from sources that suggest why you may wish to shift your run schedule to help you cope with life’s ups and downs.
Your body runs to the beat of its own drum
Even non-scientific minds are aware of the fact that everyone’s body reacts to an internal time clock, energy and fatigue cycles. If you’ve had your circadian rhythms disrupted by drastic wake/sleep changes, you know what we’re talking about.
Ignore your body’s signals and pay the price. Pay attention to them and every aspect of your life can improve.
That stated, in addition to circadian rhythms that drive waking/sleeping behaviours, be on the lookout for other constants.
According to Pennsylvania State University Psychology Professor Robert Matchock, between the hours of noon and 4 p.m., it’s easy for most of us to become distracted, so if you are given critical tasks to accomplish, save them for late morning on the following day and you’ll be more successful.
Here’s good news for creative types: afternoon slumps strike around 2 p.m. also trigger more creative thinking.
Says University of Texas Biomechanical Professor Michael Smolensky, you can’t beat the 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. time span when it comes to physical performance with the least risk of injury.
Albany Medical College Professor of Medicine Boris Medarov says this is no coincidence: muscle strength reaches highest levels between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m., and lungs function best at 5 p.m. (17.6-percent more efficiently than at any other time of day!).
Dr. Smolensky also proved that joints and muscles are 20-percent more flexible in the evening, so you can see how time of day affects performance.
But what about days of the week?
Good question! Are there days of the week that are better suited to peak performance on the running track?
We’re going out on a limb here and matching data to suggest why certain days are better than others based on typical work/sleep/run cycles, so put on your seatbelt as we give you reasons to shift your current run schedule.
All About Monday
Why run on Mondays to relieve stress when you’re coming off a relaxing weekend? Because Mondays at work are extremely stressful, and researchers have proven it.
If you “sleep in” over the weekend, your body likes the extra shut-eye, so getting up early again can make your body rebel. Further, Monday is the day we kiss our social community goodbye and leave the comfort of home to be re-inserted into a hostile work environment.
Besides, Monday has a lousy reputation in general! Blood pressures are higher on Monday than other days of the week and Monday has proven to be the day people suffer the most frequent heart attacks and strokes, according to myriad clinical studies.
This may result from having trashed our healthy living habits over the weekend. For these reasons and more, it’s wise to run on Monday.
All About Tuesday
If you’re so dissatisfied with your job that you dislike Tuesday as much as Monday, you’re not alone. A Gallup poll survey of disgruntled workers proved that 37-percent of all job applications are sent out on Tuesdays.
Doing something about an untenable work situation (like sending out resumes) is a positive step to take and if you pair it with a therapeutic run, you double down on your commitment to change your life.
On the other hand, a U.S. work stress and happiness survey conducted using the iPhone app Mappiness resulted in startling responses by people who answered that they’re the most miserable on Tuesday because it feels like the longest work day of all! Maybe that weekend glow wore off on Monday.
Or perhaps the next weekend is just too far into the future. Whether you’re celebrating taking job change actions or feel bummed about having to wait 4 more days until the weekend, you’re a definite candidate for a Tuesday run!
All About Wednesday
Known affectionately as Hump Day, Wednesdays tend to find working people fairly content — despite the fact that more negative Tweets are sent mid-week than on other days.
The good news is that Wednesday has been found to be the day morale is at its highest, which is good for workers. Bosses? Not so much. High morale equals less productivity, so while everyone’s in a great mood, work production suffers.
Undertaking cross-training on Wednesday is the ideal move to make because you’re in a genial mood and you haven’t exerted yourself on the job (that productivity thing).
Besides, it’s easy to transfer that “high morale” you enjoy to a fun run with friends after work. If you’re not up for running, hit the gym followed by a pub stop offering 2-for-1 or BOGO beverages to celebrate Hump Day. Wednesday is the day we sleep best, by the way.
All About Thursday
It seems logical that Thursday, more than Wednesday, inches you closer to the weekend. Yet scientists have discovered that folks who don’t look forward to weekends begin sliding into anxiety and depression on Thursday.
Those who can’t wait for weekends tend to become even less productive, so Thursday is quite the trickster in terms of people’s outlook.
Should you stay in bed because Thursday appears to be a loser? You bet.
Despite being the rainiest day of the week, according to global climatology experts, it’s also the day you can turn to your partner for mind-blowing sex thanks to a build-up of the stress hormone cortisol!
Who wouldn’t want to plan a sexy romp on Thursdays? You get your heart rate up nicely and you don’t even have to get dressed. It may be raining anyway.
All About Friday
We’ll be honest: It’s hard to find anything bad to say about Friday. Even if the week has been a lousy one, the start of the weekend emboldens most of us.
Besides, if you’re going to do everything listed on your busy weekend itinerary, you’d better finish your work week with a therapeutic jog that can rid your body of any tension you might otherwise bring into your weekend.
Friday runs are pure pleasure. Both your head and body shake off the week’s disappointments quickly. Dr. Jeffrey Brown of Harvard’s Psychology and Psychiatry Department notes that Friday is like having a re-set button, marking a transition from professional burdens to family time, but if you run to get a head start on this transition, we urge you to be more cautious than usual.
On Friday, says UK’s Accident Exchange, there are more accidents any other day of the week, and you don’t want to become a statistic, right?
All About The Weekends
The London School of Economics has declared Saturday to be the day “our moods are at their brightest.”
What better way to celebrate this state of mind than by registering for marathons? Undertake your traditional stretching exercises to ready your body for the challenge ahead and then work through the frustrations and disappointments of the previous week by setting a personal best.
Does this mean you’re going to spend Sunday in the best frame of mind? Not according to German and Swedish researchers who found an over-representation of grumpy people on Sunday, probably because the thought of going back to work in 24-hours can scrub the mind clean of Saturday euphoria, so watch your step.
Danish scientists have proven that people break more bones on Sunday than any other day of the week, so seek balance between euphoria and caution as you prepare for the work week ahead.
Here’s another reason to be cautious when running on Sunday: surgeons on call have a horrendous track record, according to the “British Medical Journal,” Anyone having emergency surgery on Sunday is “80 per cent more likely to die than if they have the procedure on a Monday.” The reason? Skilled surgeons usually don’t work on Sunday, so curb your enthusiasm while enjoying your last hours of “freedom” before you head back to work!
What life constraints stop you from scheduling runs on the days you prefer? Work? Family matters? Or have you just not taken a critical look at how you manage your time?