Wake up and Work Out: 12 Advantages of Morning Exercise
The idea that there’s one “right” time to exercise is wrong. Instead, the “right” time is whatever time that you can fit into your schedule and stick to in order to see progress toward your fitness goals. That being said, there are quite a few benefits to scheduling that exercise time first thing in the morning.
Starting the day off on the right – or healthy – foot can kickstart a whole host of positive results that not only improve your morning but the rest of your day as well. Alongside getting an early feeling of accomplishment, you also help your body control its appetite, eat healthier, rest more, and generally feel better. So, if you’re looking to start a morning exercise routine, let’s take a look at 12 reasons why you should.
Facilitates a better night’s rest
Sleep is an essential part of any healthy lifestyle. No matter how many coffees you drink, at some point, if you’re not sleeping enough, you’re going to lose focus and experience a whole host of other negative effects.
The good news is that if you’re having trouble sleeping, some morning exercise can help out.
Getting up early to hit the gym or go for a run can result in you falling into a deep sleep much faster when it’s time to lay down for the night. On top of that, exercising outside in the early morning sun improves melatonin levels.
Improves your mood
Physical exercise, in general, is a great way to relieve stress. It’s no coincidence that people say “walk it off” or “take a walk and clear your head” when someone is visibly upset by something.
The act of exercise leads to a flood of endorphins being released, which, in turn, gives you a
In addition to the endorphins filling you with feel-good chemicals, the act of focusing on some type of physical exercise takes your mind off other things you might be worried about. It’s kind of hard to focus on running and being anxious at the same time. This improved mood will filter out to improve your entire day.
Helps you avoid distractions
Most books and articles centered around “morning rituals” tell you to avoid the temptation of scrolling through your phone first thing in the morning. That’s because phones can be full of anxiety-producing messages that make a calm start to the day nearly impossible.
One simple way to avoid going down that rabbit hole is to wake up and exercise. If you start stretching and moving the moment you get up, you’ll avoid the web of distractions that is a smartphone. Later on, when it’s time to respond to them, you’ll be in a much better headspace.
Controls high blood pressure
Unfortunately, nearly 33% of Americans suffer from high blood pressure. The causes can include drinking too much caffeine, having too little sleep, and being overweight. One simple (and relatively inexpensive) way of controlling this is by exercising.
Physical exercise of nearly any kind does a great job of managing high blood pressure levels.
That being said, there’s something extra special about physical exercise in the morning. It seems to lead to the most beneficial management of blood pressure when compared to afternoon and evening exercises.
Controls your appetite
The hormone that tells your body whether or not it’s hungry is called “ghrelin.” If it’s stimulated, then you’re starving. If it’s reduced, then you feel comfortable refusing that extra bar of chocolate. Physical exercise reduces ghrelin and therefore keeps your appetite in check.
Physical exercise in the morning does that even more. Researchers found that 45 minutes on the treadmill was enough to reduce a person’s brain activity when staring at pictures of food.
When they stopped the morning exercise, their brain activity spiked because they wanted to eat more.
Supports weight loss goals
As we saw above, hitting the gym or park shortly after the alarm clock goes off is a great way to regulate your appetite by reducing the release of the hunger hormone ghrelin. Morning exercise can also lead to another health-related benefit: weight loss.
Most people struggle with losing (and keeping off) extra weight. If that’s you, consider developing a morning exercise routine. Researchers have found most people burn more fat when exercising in the morning rather than in the afternoon or evening. When this fact is combined with the other benefits, it’s a no-brainer.
Controls your blood glucose levels
Living with type 1 diabetes is difficult. Exercising with it is even more difficult. That’s because physical exercise can lead to low blood glucose levels, which can get quite dangerous. That being said, exercise is still helpful.
So, to get the gains from exercise while balancing the risk of low blood glucose, consider exercising in the morning. Researchers studying adults with type 1 diabetes found that morning treadmill sessions were less risky than afternoon sessions. This could be the result of higher
levels of cortisol regulating blood sugar levels.
Encourages healthy eating
Morning exercise not only keeps your appetite in check but also pushes you toward healthier
foods when you do decide to eat. Researchers studying exercise routines in college students
found that they changed their eating habits to be more healthy over the course of the study.
Although the researchers didn’t prompt them by saying “eat healthier,” the college students naturally tended toward that by consuming less fried food, red meat, and other unhealthy options. The positive habit of regular exercise spilled over to (quite naturally) improve other aspects of their lives.
Boosts your overall energy levels
It’s no secret that those who exercise regularly seem to be full of energy when compared to their more sedentary peers. It’s easy to see why. Moving your body around and getting your blood flowing naturally boosts your energy levels. Also, it reduces the sense of being tired all the time.
Lifting weights, doing cardio, or practicing yoga causes a whole host of nutrients (including oxygen) to flood through your body and end up in your heart and lungs. The end result of this nutrient shower is a better cardiovascular system alongside a boost in endurance and stamina.
Improves your ability to focus
As the name suggests, “physical exercise” is, well, physical. That being said, don’t let names fool you – this “physical” exercise improves your mental health as well. In particular, exercise improves your ability to concentrate and focus.
Morning exercise allows those gains to filter through the rest of the day. That means if you get up and exercise right away, you might find yourself having much more focus (and being much more efficient) while at work. When paired with other strategies for improving focus (taking breaks, avoiding distractions, etc.), this can be a real game changer.
Keeps you safe from the heat of the day
There’s something deeply refreshing about a cool breeze in the morning. It seems to jolt you into wakefulness as much as the exercise itself. This is particularly true if you live in a tropical environment that gets unbearably hot in the afternoon.
Not only is it more difficult to exercise at midday when the sun’s blazing down, but it’s also more
dangerous. You need to be extra careful to stay hydrated lest you fall victim to a heat stroke or something worse. To avoid that nasty fate, consider exercising in the morning when it’s not scorching hot out.
Leads to a more active day
It’s clear that a morning exercise routine starts you off on the right foot for the day. It regulates appetite, helps you avoid distractions, and gives a boost in energy, among other things. Adding to this already amazing list of benefits is the fact that morning exercise leads to an overall increase in physical activity.
Starting a habit is the most difficult part. Once you begin, however, you find it easier and easier to continue. This seems to be the case with morning exercise as well. A few minutes in the morning will push you to be more active all throughout the day.