Exercise has numerous benefits for the health, but those who can exercise in the morning can also enjoy the advantages of a morning workout. The 10 most important benefits from exercising in the morning, according to research, are outlined below.
1. It energizes you for the day ahead
Rather than hitting the coffee with vengeance to find the energy needed to make it into the office on time, exercising in the morning can give you that energy boost you require to get going due to the release of endorphins and other hormones that make you feel good.
Also, unlike coffee, the energy tends to last throughout the day rather than leaving you in a lethargic dip around mid morning. Whether it is a run outside on the empty streets or a gym session with a pumping musical background, there is no doubt that physical activity before you start your day will leave you feeling energized and ready to face whatever the day throws at you.
2. It clears the mind
Exercise can be a great way to unwind and de stress and gives you time to think. Although it differs for everyone, many people find that exercising is the best way to reduce stress in their lives and be calmer and more productive. Morning exercise is a great way to banish the problems and stresses of the day before and clear your mind to start the new day on a more positive note.
3. It leaves the day ahead free
Exercising in the morning is great because it is unlikely that anything will get in the way of you doing it. Whilst your good intentions to hit the gym in your lunch hour or jog after work may often be derailed due to unforseen work or family commitments, these types of distractions are far less likely to occur early in the morning, meaning you are more likely to be able to actually do your exercise.
Exercising before the world gets going also leaves time later in the day to do run errands, do all the essential things that need to be done in life and even to relax, meet friends and socialize. This generally makes your day more productive and prevents any guilt you may feel by skipping the gym to meet friends for a coffee or go shopping.
4. It motivates you to stay healthy all day
If you start the day on a healthy note, you are more likely to continue down this path for the rest of the day. Rather than undo all the hard work you have already put in, you are more likely to keep up your healthy day by making healthier food choices.
5. It can help you sleep better
Exercise is generally thought to improve sleep, but people who work out in the evening can find that being active so close to going to bed can make it difficult to unwind and get to sleep. Working out in the morning avoids this, but still allows you to get the benefits the exercise brings to your sleep patterns.
6. You are fresh so you can train harder
After a long day at work you are often tired, irritable and lacking the energy needed to hit the gym and train hard. At the end of a day there is always the tendency to head for the sofa and TV instead of working out, or to take a lighter training option as you feel tired.
In the morning however, you are refreshed and reenergised after a night’s sleep and so have plenty of energy to give your workout your best effort. This can lead to better results, be it for weight loss or improvements in time or endurance if that is your goal.
7. You could burn more body fat
A recent study has suggested that those who work out before breakfast burn up to 20% more body fat than those working out after eating. Both groups were given the same milkshake after exercise for recovery. They found that the fasting participants did not consume more later in the day to make up for their lack on intake earlier on and therefore consumed less calories and lost more weight.
8. It increases discipline
Dragging yourself out of bed at the crack of dawn takes a lot of self-discipline and it’s very easy to take the easy way out and slide back into the warmth of the bed, especially during cold, dark winter months. By pushing yourself to make the effort and get out there you are increasing your self-discipline, which can be reflected on other areas of your life, be in work or personal.
9. It helps to develop a healthy lifestyle
People who get up early to exercise generally have reasonably healthy lifestyles as they need to make some healthy choices in order to enable them to get up early every morning.
Morning exercisers generally go to bed earlier as they need to make up for the sleep they don’t get in the morning, and therefore are less likely to have problems with evening snacking on unhealthy foods or alcohol consumption.
10. It may make you more sensitive to insulin.
A 2010 study suggested that exercising in a fasted state, for example before breakfast, may increase sensitivity to insulin and improve glucose tolerance. This could be important in the prevention of type 2 diabetes and also beneficial for those already experiencing symptoms of insulin resistance.
It should be noted however that for some people doing exercise on an empty stomach can make you light headed or reduce your ability to perform well. If this is the case for you, make sure you have a small, low calorie, low GI carbohydrate based snack before working out such as a slice of whole grain toast or a banana.
References used in this article