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Rise and Shine

The best time to work out is always going to be whenever it works for you. But keep in mind that there are benefits to starting your day with a sweat session, rather than ending it with one.

Article
Ashton Greer
Photos
Courtesy
Posted
March 28, 2020

When it comes to exercise, the best time of day to get in a workout is whenever you can do it consistently. Everyone is different. The “right” time depends on factors like your preference, lifestyle, and body.

And while there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer, morning workouts do have some benefits.

Getting your recommended 30 minutes of exercise each day can be stressful for many who continuously battle with the snooze button. Between juggling family priorities, working, and possibly school, you can always find an excuse to skip the gym. However, making it a habit to exercise right after you get up in the morning might be the ultimate solution to keep yourself motivated.

We know that it’s tempting to sleep as long as possible instead of getting up to hit the gym before the day gets away from you. But if you can make it a habit to get your daily exercise in before you get to the office, you’ll feel more accomplished and confident, and you’ll enjoy many health benefits.

With a few small changes, anyone can make morning exercise a habit — even if you’re not a morning person.

Fewer distractions
Morning workouts typically mean you’re less prone to distractions. When you first wake up, you haven’t started tackling the day’s to-do list. You’re also less likely to get phone calls, text messages, and emails. With fewer distractions, you’re more likely to follow through with your workout.

Start small
You might be tempted to be ambitious with your morning workouts. But if you’re not in the habit of exercising in the morning (or exercising at all), waking up to run 6 miles or lift for an hour can feel overwhelming. Instead, start small. For example, if you’re just getting started with morning exercise, maybe you start by getting up and doing a walking workout a few days a week. Then, once you’ve established that habit, you can increase your pace to a jog. Habits take time to form. With morning exercise, if you try to do too much too fast, you can burn yourself out.

Better focus during the day and increased alertness
Regular exercise is excellent for boosting energy and reducing fatigue. When you work out, oxygen and nutrients travel to your heart and lungs. This improves your cardiovascular system, endurance, and overall stamina. By exercising early, you may feel more energized throughout the day. Plus, you’re guaranteed to feel happier knowing that you started your day by doing something amazing for yourself and your health.

Appetite control
When you work out in the morning, you are less likely to have the urge to consume a greasy or sugar-filled breakfast. You feel so good about yourself after your workout that you wouldn’t want to ruin the start of your day by eating unhealthily after you gave your body a good workout.

Improved sleep
Exercise in general is known to promote better sleeping habits. However, exercising in the evening can make it harder to fall asleep at night (as it boosts your endorphins). One study found that participants who exercised at 7 a.m. experienced deeper, longer sleep than those who exercised in the afternoon or evening. Morning workouts are the best way to reap all of the sleep benefits of exercise.

Boost in metabolism
Ever heard of excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, aka EPOC? Well, it’s a fitness term meaning that when you work out, you receive a boost in metabolism that allows your body to burn more calories after your workout. Yes, this happens even once you get to work or school and sit at your desk doing work. So, take advantage of EPOC in the morning hours so you continue to burn calories throughout the rest of your day.

Blood pressure-lowering abilities
While you would think that it would not make a difference whether your workout is in the morning or evening when it comes to lowering blood pressure, think again. Morning workouts make a greater difference. According to a study that compared 30-minute workout sessions that occurred at different times of the day (7 a.m., 1 p.m., and 7 p.m.), the 7 a.m. workout caused the most significant reduction in blood pressure. Not only did the early morning workout cause a 10% decrease, but it caused a continuous decline throughout the rest of the individual’s day.

Improved weight loss
Morning exercise is not superior to evening exercise when it comes to weight loss. Losing weight comes down to burning more calories than you consume. However, there are two reasons why morning exercise might be beneficial for you if you’re trying to lose weight. If you find yourself getting cravings that lead to overeating after working out, morning workouts might curb your appetite and help you make better food choices throughout the day. It’s also a fact that when you train on an empty stomach, a more significant ratio of energy that you use comes from your fat stores. So, if two workouts burned the same amount of calories, the one that was done on an empty stomach might trigger faster weight loss.

Beat the heat
The most extreme temperatures of the day in Oklahoma usually occur between 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. So, if you love to take advantage of the summer and workout outside, do it before 10 a.m. Otherwise, you could suffer from severe heat exhaustion and possibly heat stroke. We exercise to keep ourselves healthy, not suffer from life-threatening occurrences.