Chronobiology of Physical Performance and Sports Medicine

  • C. M. Winget
  • M. R. I. Soliman
  • D. C. Holley
  • J. S. Meylor


If a soccer coach wants his team to execute several new and exacting plays for next week’s championship game, the science of chronobiology suggests that the best time to introduce the plays is 3 in the afternoon. In fact, almost everyone can expect a better athletic performance if workouts and qualifying events are held between 12 noon and 2100 hours (Winget et al. 1985). This expectation is based on the fact that many of the physiological determinants of physical performance, from the activity of metabolic pathways to the creation of cognitive thought, vary in the course of 24 h (see Table 1). The quantitative study of biological phenomena that fluctuate over time (i.e., chronobiology) has helped to define and identify times when the sum of these physiological mechanisms should be functioning optimally. Recommendations based on these findings (and discussed in this chapter) hold wide implications to space flight, agriculture, military training, teaching, business, medicine, psychiatry and other fields besides competitive athletics which require “peak” mental and physical performance. This chapter will also review the impact of abnormal or desynchronized biological rhythms on physical performance and outline countermeasures to deal with possible performance decrements.


Circadian Rhythm Athletic Performance Time Zone Hand Grip Strength Aviat Space Environ 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. M. Winget
  • M. R. I. Soliman
  • D. C. Holley
  • J. S. Meylor

There are no affiliations available

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