Time flies when you’re not working out, and if you leave it until the end of the day, there’s a much higher chance that you’ll blow off exercising. Life happens, understandably, but that’s all the more reason to make morning exercise a priority. Whether it takes cutting out an hour of TV or going to bed slightly earlier, there are many reasons why your body will thank you if you get moving first thing in the morning.
Rise and run
I’ve never been one to hit the snooze button. Once that first alarm goes off, I’m awake, and lying in bed for an extended period of time isn’t going to leave me feeling refreshed later in the day.
When I wake up in the morning, the first thing I reach for is a cup of coffee— shortly followed by my running shoes. Sure, the caffeine gives me an extra buzz, but I know that oxygen is what my body is really craving. Working out early in the morning doesn’t always come easily, but I’m definitely more energized throughout the day if I got my sweat on early in the morning than if I slept in. Studies have shown that exercise can significantly increase mental acuity, a benefit that will leave you feeling alert and thinking more clearly for several hours afterward.
Once you make morning exercise a priority, crashing and rising early won’t be such tough tasks, as regular exercise translates to quality sleep. Quality sleep, in turn, revs up your metabolism, enabling you to feel alert and ready to get moving when you wake up.
Preparation is key
When I lived in New York, I often slept in my winter running layers to motivate myself to get going in the morning. I’m sure my roommate thought I was nuts, but those extra ten minutes of sleep were always worth it. When I woke up dressed, there was no turning back even when Accuweather told me it was “20 degrees but feels like 12.”
Make smarter food choices
If I had a solid, quality dinner last night and I’m running for an hour or less, I’m usually good to go without breakfast this morning. Once I’m back, I’m more likely to reach for a bowl of oatmeal or some yogurt with fruit than a sugary doughnut, and I’m more likely to choose an apple or raw nuts instead of a bag of chips as an afternoon snack.
Additionally, morning exercise helps regulate your appetite throughout the day, preventing you from overeating. Exercising in the morning will boost your metabolism for hours, enabling your body to burn more calories throughout the day. If you’re trying to lose weight, morning workouts are the way to go, as you’re more likely to stick with it and make exercise a habit.
Over and done with
While many others claim to not be “morning people,” I can say that I’m the same way about working out at night. Unless I have a buddy coming with me, I don’t want to run when it’s dark. It’s also much easier to bail on a sweat session at the end of the day– things come up, you might have to work late, prepare dinner or even pick up a child from school. When I’m off work at 6 PM, I’m tired and all I want to do is eat dinner and veg on the couch– which I can do sans guilt knowing I exercised that morning!
All it takes is staying committed. Treat your morning workout like an important meeting that you can’t cancel and soon enough it’ll be second nature.