Director: Dr. Jacopo Vitale
Chronobiology and Biological Rhythms
Actogram given by a 24-hours actigraph monitoring.
Chronobiology is the science examining the biological rhythms in humans and it can also have several practical applications for sports sciences. The available studies on circadian/circannual variations of physiological and psychological variables during the course of the day/year are not recent and span several decades These psychophysiological functions show maximum peaks at different times of the day/year, which could have either positive or negative effects on sports performance and athletes’ health. We studied, for instance, the seasonal variations of Vitamin D, which is an essential hormone for bone metabolism and health, and we observed that this marker had a clear circannual rhythm with an acrophase in months with longer photoperiod, both in healthy subjects, athletes, and in patients of IRCCS Istituto Ortopedico Galeazzi. In addition, we are also studying the effect of high-intensity interval training (HIIT), performed at different times of the day, on sleep behavior, heart rate variability and mood in athletes of different sports disciplines. The correct chronobiologic approach in the study of seasonal variations of bone and muscle metabolism and the diurnal variations in the responses to physical activity could be crucial in the development of more specific injury prevention strategies.