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Cheshire researcher’s exercise theory tested on hit Channel 4 health show

A RESEARCHER in the physiology of muscles and tendons helped explore whether the time of day can influence the effectiveness of exercise for Channel 4 myth-busting health show How To Get Fit Fast.

Dr Gladys Pearson, Reader in Human Muscle-Tendon Physiology and Head of the HEAL Research Centre, was filmed taking presenter Anna Richardson through her paces at a laboratory at Manchester Metropolitan University’s Cheshire Campus.

Her scenes were broadcast during an episode of the series shown on February 27.

Many people start their day with a morning run or an early session at the gym but research carried out by Dr Pearson suggests that exercising of an evening could be nearly 30 per cent more effective.

During the show, that theory was put to the test with Anna, PhD graduate Declan Ryan and Exercise and Sport Science undergraduate student Beth Kershaw working with highly-skilled staff to use industry-leading exercise and sport science equipment to accurately measure the height of their standing jumps in both the morning and evening.

All three participants saw their performance improve in the evening with Declan’s jump height increasing by 16.3 per cent, Anna’s by 7.7 per cent and Beth’s by 1.8 per cent.

Dr Pearson said: “Exercises that rely on a short strength or explosive power seem to be easier in the afternoon and early evening.

“The best performances are usually seen between 4pm and 8pm, with some experiments showing a positive change of up to 29% for strength, as seen in weight lifting, or 5 to 9% for explosive power, as seen in basketball or taekwondo.

“Another interesting thing that we’ve found is that you can also use the natural rhythm of your hormones to your advantage.

“We recently carried out a series of studies culminating into the latest one that suggests that the balance of hormones in the evening is more likely to promote muscle growth.”

Dr Pearson was thrilled to be able to share her research with a wider audience though the Channel 4 show.

“It was great to see how our research gained such interest from the public,” she said.

“I was very impressed with Anna and her team who were professional, personable and very well informed science-wise.”

Dr Pearson aims to continue her research on the Cheshire campus with a longer-term study.

You can still see the Cheshire campus’ appearance on How to Get Fit Fast online or via Channel 4’s All4 catch-up app.

Dr Pearson’s research may be of particular interest to those training for the upcoming Great Manchester Run. Staff, students and alumni can take part in the race at a discounted rate with a range of benefits available. Free gym membership and return travel from Cheshire to Manchester on the day of the race will also be on offer. See online for details. 

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