Humans are animals of habit. Not only do our daily routines keep us grounded by providing us with a sense of anchor, this is necessitated by our genes themselves. Yes, we have within our bodies our own personal clock, an internal time keeping system or simply put, a biological clock called the circadian clock or circadian rhythms. This clock affects the physical, mental and behavioral changes that follow a daily cycle, primarily in response to light and darkness in an individual’s environment.
Our biological clock is a complex system that affects a wide array of physiological functions including metabolism, body temperature, sleep, blood pressure, endocrine, immune, cardiovascular and renal function. The system has two clocks – a main clock that resides in the brain and secondary clocks within each organ and tissue of the body.
Our circadian rhythms follow the most obvious and powerful environmental cue – light. It is easy to understand the evolutionary philosophy behind this. Darkness permitted no activity to our ancestors and thus was a time when the body’s metabolism should be slowed down and the body be rested. Come morning, with the rising of the sun, as light entered the retina, the signals were quickly passed on to the main clock in the brain. It then sent signals to all the secondary clocks throughout the body to increase rates of metabolism to face a challenging day ahead.
However, in today’s life and times where the distinction between the day and night has blurred, thanks to artificial light emitting from our ceilings as well as from our handy gadgets, the circadian clock is in a state of utter confusion. Disruptions in the circadian rhythms contribute to wide ranging diseases of the cardiovascular system, cancers, metabolic syndromes and aging.
Our bodies did not evolve taking into consideration today’s lifestyle. By living the way we are today, we are putting a tremendous amount of stress on our bodies. We need to respect our biological clocks to live a life of wellness and health. In order to do that, we first need to understand our biological clock.
This can be achieved by analyzing our “clock genes.” A careful analysis of a few important clock genes will shed ample amount of light on what we need to and need not do to keep our bodies in sync with our internal time keeping mechanism. One interesting aspect of understanding our clock genes is the ability it gives us to understand what is the right time for us to exercise. While popular perception is that exercising is to be done early in the morning, this is a misguided notion.
Around 39% of the global population should exercise in the evening to derive the best advantages of exercising. This is because their bodies are most responsive to exercising in the evening and if these people are on a weight loss regime and are advised daily moderate physical activity, they will fail to derive any benefits of exercising in the morning, how much ever they try to be loyal to their given regime.
Our bodies hold mysteries beyond our wildest dreams. Who would have known that our genes may govern the time of exercising? But they do and to know which time is most suitable for your body, get a quick, painless gene test done and rest assured in the confident knowledge of giving exactly what your body wants.