If you’re fortunate enough to be a naturally early riser, you already know the benefits of being able to wake up faster and be more productive in the morning than the night owls among us. You’re ready to work out 15 minutes after jumping out of bed, and annoyingly chipper to the non-morning people in your midst at work. (Don’t take it personally. They’re just tired, and that makes people grumpy.)
But if you’re not a morning person by nature, it might be a good idea to give it a try if you’d like to achieve faster results with your exercise program. It may sound like a nightmare to move your body so soon after sunrise, but if you have a perky morning pal around to pour you a cup of coffee or 3, you’ll possibly be happy you got into an early routine.
Below are some reasons why exercising in the morning is a great idea:
1. More Metabolism—
When you get muscles working and the heart pumping blood early in the day, you’re effectively starting the engine for your whole body to get all systems moving, and your metabolism begins burning fuel.
Exercise has also been shown to elevate the metabolism for hours afterward, which means the sooner you get it going, the more time you’ll spend in this higher-calorie burning mode.
So wake up that metabolism, make it get to work early, and reap the benefits for the rest of the day.
2. Less Appetite—
In addition to boosting your metabolism so you burn calories at a faster rate, exercise has been shown to reduce appetite by releasing brain chemicals and endorphins that tamp feelings of hunger.
This means the earlier in the day you get your workout on, the less likely you’ll be to overeat later, which can make a huge difference in the progress of your fitness.
Some people also find that starting their day with exercise reminds them they’re trying to improve their health, leading to smarter food choices for the rest of the day.
3. More Sleep—
If you’re a late to bed/late to rise person normally, it might be hard to fall asleep early in preparation for morning exercise at first. But if you can stick with it long enough to readjust your circadian rhythms, you will get better quality of sleep and more of it once you’re on the new schedule.
Late-day exercise can have the unwanted effect of waking people up and keeping them up later than they’d like because of the accompanying metabolism boost and rush of endorphins.
Studies have shown that those who exercise in the morning sleep better, so if you have insomnia, getting into a consistently early exercise program can be especially beneficial. (Source: WebMD.com.)
4. More Brain Power—
Working out early can improve your mental acuity and clarity for the rest of the day, thanks to a combination of alertness-giving oxygen and the positive endorphins released during physical exertion.
Many morning workout fans also report increased daily productivity, as the early exercise time allows them to plan the day’s tasks, goals and to-do list while they simultaneously move the body and enjoy a productivity-enhancing mental meditation.
5. More Consistency—
Most adults realize the best laid plans often become the universe having a good laugh at our expense, which can really throw a wrench in the consistency factor of a fitness program. This means that if you plan your workout for later in the day, there’s more of a chance that something will pop up and usurp the time you’ve set aside.
While it’s entirely possible to stick to a later-in-the-day regimen by giving daily workouts the priority they deserve (because your health is obviously high-priority), if you get the exercise over with first thing upon waking, there will be less opportunities for unforeseen issues to cause you to skip it.
6. More Relaxation—
If you’re the type of person who showers or puts on make-up before going to the gym out of a sense of self-consciousness about appearance, morning exercise might be just the thing you need to skip pointless “prep time” and stick with your workouts.
In the early morning, nobody is expected to look well-put-together, and there is an added casualness to the atmosphere of any club. Everybody just got out of bed and came straight to the gym – this is an accepted fact – and that means less concern for hair and clothes.
If you’re having trouble consistently working out, or feel that late-day exercise might be causing sleep issues by revving you up when you should be winding down, consider the benefits of earlier exercise above and give it a try. You might be pleasantly surprised to find out you’re a morning person after all.