Author: lboyd6

Can Time of Day Affect Your Workout Performance?

by: Reagan Crichton

We all know the benefits of exercises and how good it is for us, but have you ever sat back and thought that you could be getting more benefits if you workout at a different time? Yes, you will always benefit from the physical activity and exercise you are participating in. There have been studies done that can suggest working out at night has added benefits and can help you reach peak performance during activity. However, there have been other studies conducted that suggest that it just depends on person to person, and it can rely on their genetics and habits. (Gorski, 2015)

Working out at night has been looked at as having an added benefit because as the day goes on your body typically relaxes allowing muscle power to increase the later it gets. Your muscle power increases at the end of the day because you become more relaxed resulting in lower blood pressure, heart rate, and even body temperature.  Some have found that working out in the latter half of the day can also help you sleep better at night, while others have shown it has been linked to an inability to fall asleep. With all that being said working out at any time will benefit you, there have just been “proven” added benefits to performing at a later time. 

File:Runners – Dodicesima Legnano Night Run, 09-09-2016 Piazza Giuseppe Frua, Legnano MI.jpg – Wikimedia Commons

When the other study was conducted it suggested that it depends on person to person when it comes to looking at time and working out, which is also true. You cannot make a night owl an early bird, and you cannot make an early bird a night owl. It is not simple but there are ways to train your body to adapt to your workout times. Dr. Philip Skiba is the regional director of sports medicine at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital, and he suggested you just need to train your body clock to perform at its peak performance according to the schedule you are on. (Gorski, 2015)  Even though you can see difference when you change your performance time, you should not force your body to adapt to a schedule that it is not meant to run on. If mornings are when you feel your best and most motivated continue performing in the morning, and if it’s 1 o’clock in the afternoon then keep that going as well! 


Time of day could impact athletes’ performance peak. (n.d.). Retrieved March 27, 2021, from

File:Runners – Dodicesima Legnano Night Run, 09-09-2016 Piazza Giuseppe Frua, Legnano MI.jpg – Wikimedia Commons


The Effects of Music on Physical Activity

by: Emily Lopez

Do you usually listen to music while working out? If so, why? The most common reason to do this is usually because it motivates people throughout their exercises. Listening to music is a great way to start off the day. It can lighten up one’s mood and can also make anything you do much more fun. Music also plays a big role in how well someone performs an exercise or activity, and the time it takes them to complete the exercise.

Many people find exercising unenjoyable however, music can turn exercising into something that is fun and enjoyable for everyone. Research shows individuals who listen to music during exercise and physical activity result in better performance than those who do not listen to music. According to a Terry, competitors in a 6-day cycle race traveled 8.5% faster during a military band performance (Terry, 2020). Overtime music has become an important part in many people’s lives. For some it has helped them get through their day dealing with anxiety and depression, and for others music has served as a motivational factor. For example, many people do not find cardio as something they enjoy, specifically running. It can be very challenging and hard to find the motivation to keep going. However, if you add music to your run you will notice that it provides a much more enjoyable experience and time will feel like it is flying.

There are many different factors that need to be considered when selecting music for better performance. The genre of music as well as the beats and rhythms of a song, influence how well you perform an activity and how fast it takes to complete. Songs that have a fast tempo and are upbeat are great for running to increase pace. Listening to music while exercising provides many benefits such as significantly improving physical performance, increasing oxygen consumption, and reducing perceived exertion (RPE). So next time you go on a run, make sure to bring your earphones!


Terry, P. C., Karageorghis, C. I., Curran, M. L., Martin, O. V., & Parsons-Smith, R. (2020). Effects of music in exercise and sport: A meta-analytic review. Psychological Bulletin, 146(2), 91-117. doi:


Thakare, A. E., Mehrotra, R., & Singh, A. (2017). Effect of music tempo on exercise performance and heart rate among young adults. International journal of physiology, pathophysiology and pharmacology9(2), 35–39.

Links to images:



Food = Fuel

by: Savannah Cloud

Have you ever heard that you are what you eat or what you put into your body is fuel? If so, did you believe it? There are many people who do not think that and wonder why they are not seeing a difference after working out. I have always been told that being in the gym and exercising is only 20%, the other 80% comes from what you are eating. While this may or may not be true, many people are unaware of how much consuming your food as fuel can make a difference.

Your body responds better to everyday life when you and consume a healthy diet. The food you eat can provide enough energy and nutrients to meet the demands that exercise and training have (Sporting Performance and Food, 2020). The body cannot rely on fatty, high sodium, high sugar foods to fuel it through workouts and that is why we can feel sluggish when not eating properly.

(“Food Fuels Your Body for Exercise!” 2018).

There are certain things that can benefit your body when it comes to food being used as fuel. Carbohydrates are essential for your body. Carbohydrates give your body the energy it needs to push through exercises and can help your body recovery after working out. Protein is another very important asset for the body and performance. People who exercise often should be consuming at least 1.0 g of your body weight to get the accurate amount needed to fuel the body through workouts and post workout recovery (Sporting Performance and Food, 2020). Proteins are important because they build and restore muscle and bone.

Carbohydrates and proteins are two of the main things that can provide energy for the body and there are a variety of different foods to choose from that include them. Lean meats such as beef, lamb and pork are high in protein poultry such as, chicken, turkey, duck and goose. Fish and seafood and eggs, milk and cheese are also all high in protein (“Protein” Better Health Channel, 2020). Carbohydrates are a little different when it comes to choosing what to fuel your body with and what to avoid. Carbohydrates are in a lot of different things that are good for you such as, whole grains, vegetables, fruits, brown rice, wheat and oats.

It may seem like a lot to keep up with trying to make sure you get the proper amount of protein and carbohydrates, but by paying attention to what you put into your body, the outcome is worth it. Your body needs these things to fuel it and make you feel better in the long run and that is worth it! There are apps that can help you keep track of calories and protein and carbohydrate intake. MyFitnessPal, MyPlate Calorie Counter, and Protein Tracker are just a few options.



Advocate, Consumer. “Food Fuels Your Body for Exercise!” Commissary Connection, Commissary Connection, 21 June 2018,

“Protein.” Better Health Channel, 2020,

“Sporting Performance and Food.” Better Health Channel, 2020,


Improving Your Mood While Listening to Tunes

By: Savannah Cloud

Working out is not always fun and sometimes people struggle with the motivation to even do it. There are so many reasons why people decide to make a change in their lives and start working out. Some are wanting to become healthier and more active, some are trying to lose weight and gain muscle and others want to because it is fun and something they enjoy doing. In each of these options there tend to be bad days where there is no motivation and working out seems to be more of a chore. Some people just cannot get in the right head space and may skip that day or perform poorly. Something that may help with this is music. It has been said so many times before, listening to music can improve your mood while exercising. Turning on a good playlist to listen to while working out can make people run faster with the beat or push harder when getting into an upbeat song. Studies have shown that listening to music actual does improve the quality of a workout!

“Can Running with Music Aid Performance? Pros & Cons (2020).”

Listening to music while exercising has proved to increase stamina and put people in better moods(North and Hargreaves 2020). Music can lead to synchronized steps within the beat and movements while working out. Fast paced music tends to make people want to keep up with it and can lead to increasing pace or longer distances. There is actually a psychological effect connecting working out and listening to music and having a better mood. Hormone levels change within the body that gives someone a mood boost by releasing serotonin in the body. North and Hargreaves 2020, suggest that music distracts from pain that happens in exercises through competing emotions, because it is easier to forget about pain or fatigue when a song you enjoy is distracting you (North and Markell, J 2020). When working out and listening to something that makes you happy, it can change the entire mood for the workout.

The benefits of listening to music when working out can include pushing the feeling of pain and fatigue out of the mind and just focusing on the workout. Another benefit is increasing endurance due to the tempo of the music. A fast-paced song can have an effect on how fast someone completes a workout that includes steps or cycling. Another important benefit is increased mood. Some people cannot workout unless they have their music playing in their headphones or out loud and others need it to be quieter to focus. Either way is fine because working out is the main priority and whatever it takes to complete it is positive for health. Everyone wants a good experience with exercising and choosing things that are enjoyable and motivating can help with that!

Exercising and the Impacts It Has on Our Brain

by: Reagan Crichton

There are a lot of valid reasons behind why someone should exercise. There are also a lot of reasons behind why each person decides to start their journey. For the most part, people don’t usually think about the internal benefits they get from exercising unless their doctor informs them of it, people usually think about the long run and how they want to end up looking. Wanting to look better is a valid reason behind why you are physically active, but internal motivators and effects are far more important. We never truly stop and question or think about what does happen to us on the inside during and after exercise, specifically to the brain. When exercising your heart rate and blood flow will both increase allowing your brain access to more oxygen, nutrients, and proteins. It is proven that exercise is linked to mood improvement. It is found that major depression can decrease by 26% by just walking for an hour a day or running for only 15 minutes. (Penttila, N. 2020)

Aerobic exercises and strength training are both linked to helping treat depression, but people who participate in “team” or group exercises have seen even better results. UCO does a great job at providing both things to all students. The Wellness Center provides multiple group classes throughout the week, in-person and online options are both available. Group fitness classes allow  you to be social and interact with other people who have similar goals to you as well. There was a research study conducted by Bryne & Bryne (2006) that found the majority of studies support both the anti-depressive properties of exercise and the effect of exercising in combatting anxiety. Meaning exercise helps with not only depression but anxiety and many other normal disorders (Bryne and Bryne 2006)

When you exercise and your brain has access to all these extra things, it releases chemicals into our brain. The two major chemicals that get released are dopamine and endorphins, both of these things are proven to make you feel happy. While your own body is already releasing these feel-good chemicals, you are also doing yourself a favor and quite literally working off “some steam”. Your body not only creates and releases chemicals into your brain, but it also discards any “bad” chemicals. The bad chemicals in reference can be linked to causing added stress and anxiety. (Robinson) having these released will mean that you will finish your workout in a better mood and in a better headspace than where you started.


Byrne, A., & Byrne, D. (2002, May 28). The effect of exercise on depression, anxiety and other mood states: A review. Retrieved March 01, 2021, from

Penttila, N. (2020, March 24). How does exercise affect the brain? Retrieved March 01, 2021, from

Robinson, L. (n.d.). The mental health benefits of exercise. Retrieved March 01, 2021, from

Mental Health Brain Training Mind – Free image on Pixabay 

*All images were stated as free for use by student author

Physical Activity & The Improvements on Mental Health

Physical Activity & The Improvements on Mental Health

by: Emily Lopez

Mental health has a lot to do with the way we think, feel, and act in our everyday lives. Because of this it is important to maintain a good state of mind so that it does not affect our well-being. Performing any type of physical activity is known to show improvements on mental health, whether that is through running, walking, going to the gym, biking, playing sports, gardening, etc. Many people like to stay active for many different reasons such as maintaining a healthy lifestyle, certain fitness goals they may have that they want to accomplish, or simply because they enjoy it and it makes them feel good, both physically and mentally.

Research shows that the reason why majority of people perform physical activity is either because they want to stay healthy or it makes them feel good about themselves. According to a study that was done, people who deal with depression are far more likely to be more physically inactive than the general population, placing them at higher risks of long-term poor physical health (Parker, 2019). Overtime those who participated in physical activity resulted in lower levels of anxiety and depression than those who were not active at all. Not only does physical activity benefit one’s health and increase mood, but it also increases self-esteem.


Physical activity is important to incorporate into one’s lifestyle based on the many different benefits it provides for our health and well-being. If it something that allows us to be able to feel and look good about ourselves, then why not? You can do this by going out and enjoying something you love doing that involves being active, whether that is indoors/outdoors or through leisure or recreational activity, you decide.


Infographic on Mental Health and Exercise: mental health and ex



Hamer, M., Stamatakis, E., & Steptoe, A. (2009). Dose-response relationship between physical activity and mental health: The scottish health survey. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 43(14), 1111.

White, R.L., Babic, M.J., Parker, P.D., Lubans, D.R., Astell-Burt, T., & Lonsdale, C. (2017). Domain-specific physical activity and mental health: A meta-analysis. American Journal of Preventive Medicine52(5), 653–666.

Stretching Prior to Exercise: Yes or No?

by: Chidi Onwuka, Undergraduate Student

Static stretches prior to a workout are good for performance.  To stretch before exercise actually loosens muscles that are being engaged and promotes faster muscle response during a workout.  Stretching before exercising may reduce the risk of injury.  These are all examples of exercise myths that have been thrown around the internet as one of the millions of ways to help improve physical activity results and performance.  The particular myth of stretching prior to exercise being beneficial seems logical when you think about it.   The goals of stretching to keep the muscles flexible, strong and healthy as well maintaining and improving your range of motion are all true statements.  However, it has been proven that stretching prior to an exercise can actually be detrimental to your body instead of a benefit.  In this discussion I will go into more detail as to how the myth of stretching before exercise to help improve results has in fact been proven to be incorrect.  I

At one point in time, stretching was to exercise as being engaged is to getting married.   Stretching was a necessary obligation that should be completed prior to any physical activity or exercise.  Athletes used to be warned to stretch their muscles before performing physical activity to avoid or reduce the risk of injury.  It has been proven though that static stretching, in particular, actually impedes progression and performance.  Runners run slower, jumpers don’t jump as high, weight lifters aren’t as strong when stretching prior to exercise.  If only I had known this in high school, I may have been to jump higher, and I would not have missed that fast break dunk attempt I had in that game against Putnam City.

Stretching prior to exercise to relax muscles and promote faster response makes perfect sense, but studies have shown and concluded that stretching is ineffective in the reduction of injuries and improving performance.   Yes, stretching does lengthen the muscle engaged, but stretching before a workout can actually weaken the muscles.  According to Nelson, (2005) “pre-event stretching has demonstrated an inhibitory effect on maximal force or torque production, vertical jump performance, and running speed “(Nelson, 338).  The only thing I would want to inhibit muscle strength before, during or after exercise would be the use of resistance bands which actually achieves the goals of increasing performance rather than decreasing it if they are used properly.

Bangladeshi Cricket team about to lose stretching prior to exercise??

ROB ELLIOTT/AFP via Getty Images

Stretching prior to exercise to prevent injury is another aspect of this myth that has been proven to be untrue with research.  Static stretching could actually open you up to injury due to the lengthening of the muscle fibers, and then applying force and torque on those muscles during the main event of your workout or activity.   A very long time ago I used to instruct my boys to stretch before games to prevent injury, and it was during that period in which I dealt with more injuries than usual for kids at that age.  Fortunately for me, I have learned from my past mistakes and am better for them.  Unfortunate for the kids that were on my team at the time that I that I was training them incorrectly, and glad that no one of the kids had an serious injuries from it.

Stretching PRIOR to exercise.  Stretching as a whole is beneficial if done the right way and at the right times.  Dynamic stretching as opposed to static stretching is recommended prior to a workout or game.  Dynamic stretches such as leg kicks, arm circles and squats accomplish the goals of warming up the muscles, getting them prepared for performance, and are great pre-workout.  Static stretches are great post-exercise or post-workout.  Once your muscles are warmed up, and you are relaxing the muscles instead of engaging the muscles is when static stretching is best.   So please do not take parts of this entry, and quote me without the full text.  Again, stretching is good for the muscles as long as it is done correctly and at the right times.


  1. Nelson, Arnold G, Kokkonen, Joke, & Arnall, David A. (2005). ACUTE MUSCLE STRETCHING INHIBITS MUSCLE STRENGTH ENDURANCE PERFORMANCE. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research,19(2), 338-343.

Benefits of Stretching

by: Cierra Bennett

There are many elements that are very important to practice when trying to live a healthy and fit lifestyle, but the most important thing is stretching! Stretching has many benefits for everyone, young and old and should be a part of everyone’s daily routine, even if they aren’t planning to exercise. Have you ever wondered why you feel the need to stretch right after you wake up? We subconsciously do it because when we sleep the muscles lose tone and fluid builds up in your back. So, when we stretch it helps to gently massage all the built-up fluid back to where its’ supposed to be and realign all muscles. Stretching all together is the key factor to activating the parasympathetic nervous system which is responsible for the body’s ability to rest, digest, recover and increase blood flow allowing us to return to consciousness and regain control over our muscles. It is especially important to stretch before and after workouts because it gets your body ready for any exercises you may have planned, and after to reduce the probability of delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) and increase your level of flexibility. Dynamic stretching should be done before a workout and be specific to the activity of your choice and static stretching after the workout. Why? Because dynamic prepares your muscles, ligaments and tendons for the workout improving one’s performance in any given activity and static helps improve the range of motion (ROM) in joints, in which promotes greater balance, stability and flexibility. Not only does stretching improve one’s flexibility and circulation of blood, but it is also responsible for several other factors like reducing the risk of injuries, improves posture, and plays a hand in reducing and managing stress levels by releasing the tension in muscles caused by physical and emotional stress.