By Brandy D.
Morning exercise sessions can also result in a better night’s sleep. A study conducted at Appalachian State University found that morning workouts led to a drop in blood pressure that is beneficial to sleep cycles, leading to a longer and better quality of sleep.
Learn to love the A.M. by engaging in exercise that gets your heart pumping, fat melting and your motivation operating at full-speed. Here’s why mornings are the best time of day to workout.
Say No to Excuses
“I just don’t have time to work out!” Many have uttered these very same words. Scheduling conflicts can make it difficult to fit in a solid exercise regimen, especially if you’re juggling responsibilities at home, school and work.
Don’t have time to stop at the gym after work? Just can’t make that lunch-time jog around your office building? Don’t stress. Move your workouts to the morning hours. Make time to exercise by waking up 20 minutes early or by cutting back on your long showers. If you add it to your morning “to do” list, you’ll be more likely to accomplish it.
With your workout out of the way, you’ll be better able to focus on the day ahead of you, and you’ll have the motivation to power through your day.
Speed Up Your Metabolism
If you’re exercising to lose or maintain your weight, morning exercise can streamline the process. Metabolism describes the chemical and physical processes that occur naturally in the body. These processes not only provide the body with energy, but also aid in tissue repair and the production of new cells.
Metabolism is typically measured in calories. As everyone’s calorie requirement is different depending on age, genetics, body weight, and activity level, every person’s metabolism runs at a different pace.
When you exercise, your metabolism functions at full throttle and continues working at an increased performance throughout the day. By maintaining an elevated metabolism rate, you can burn more calories throughout the day, long after your workout is done.
Of course, the amount you lose directly corresponds to your diet. To reap the full benefits of your morning workout, eat a nutrient-rich diet and avoid skipping meals. Getting enough water throughout the day is also crucial for success. Carry a water bottle with you all day to keep your body hydrated and boost your ability to burn fat.
Achieve a Higher Cardiovascular Impact
When you’re chugging along on the treadmill or pavement, you’re benefiting your heart. Engaging in morning workouts can have the same cardiovascular impact.
We all know that cardio is good for our health. Truth be told, even a brisk walk can lower your risk of high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes, according to a study conducted at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
In the morning, your body releases certain hormones like adrenaline to help wake you up. This release of hormones causes your heart to beat faster. By adding some cardio to the mix, you can enhance those cardiovascular benefits even more.
Amplify Your Brain Power
Feel drowsy and unfocused after waking? You may not be getting enough exercise during the day. A poor night’s sleep can make it difficult to think clearly, concentrate, and remain alert to your environment.
Exercise has been proven effective in increasing mental focus for up to ten hours post-workout. Regular exercise can also benefit the mind in other ways. According to clinical psychologist and memory researcher Thomas Crook, Ph.D., cardiovascular health is a paramount factor in preserving and improving memory and learning.
When you begin your mornings off with some cardio, you’re preparing both your brain and your body for the day ahead.
Build Up Consistency
Anyone who has ever tried a new diet or workout regimen knows how difficult it is to remain consistent. Even with the best intentions, life gets in the way. Soon enough, you miss one workout, then another.
When you choose to workout at the same time each morning, you’re essentially building a healthy routine. When you set aside a strict time allotment in your schedule, you have no excuses not to exercise.
With your morning exercise session out of the way, you’ll have the rest of the day to do the things that you want to do without having to worry about fitting in a workout.
Suppress Your Appetite
Exercise combined with a healthy diet is the key to weight loss. To prevent your calories from spilling over your daily allotment, add an exercise session to your daily schedule.
Many exercisers admit to feeling less hungry after a workout. Why? Some researchers believe that appetite hormones PYY, GLP-1 and PP are altered after workout, which can help reduce hunger.
Of course, you’ll only see results if you have some level of self-control. Many people choose to “reward” themselves after a workout. While a healthy snack if you’re hungry is okay, it’s important not to choose unhealthy rewards like high-calorie burgers or sugar-filled cookies. Nix the junk food and instead, reap the rewards of your workout.
Have a rough night? Stress can have a major impact on your mood, energy, concentration, and overall health. While you can’t always prevent the source of the stress, you can help to manage its symptoms.
During high-intensity exercise, endorphins are released which act as stress-relieving chemicals in the brain. Endorphins can help you to better cope with the pressure of everyday life, leading to a better sense of well-being.
According to the results of an online poll conducted by the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, approximately 14 percent of people use regular exercise as a method for coping with stress.
Maintain Better Concentration
Trying to learn and master a wide variety of workouts requires concentration. As the day progresses, you may notice that your concentration winds down, leaving you more careless than when you began the day. What this means for your workout is less effort and typically less intensity, resulting in slower results.
Cortisol, a steroid hormone made naturally in the body, is responsible for a wide range of processes in the body including immune responses, metabolism regulation and anti-inflammatory properties. It also plays a role in how the body responds to stress.
Having too little cortisol in your system can make you feel fatigued. Cortisol levels are typically highest in the morning when we wake. Known as the ‘cortisol awakening response’, this phenomenon causes the body to wake up and get ready to start the day.
By choosing to work out in the morning when your cortisol levels are at their peak, you can benefit from increased alertness. In short, the best time to exercise is when your concentration levels are at their highest, which is generally before noon.
Increase Your Endurance
While some people prefer to work out before their first meal of the day, there are some benefits to exercising after a light breakfast. That caffeine from your morning cup of coffee or tea can help fuel your workout and boost your endurance, resulting in a more intense and effective session.
During exercise, the body produces a starch referred to as glycogen that is used for energy. During the day, and especially after a long workout, these starches begin to deplete, leaving the body feeling fatigued.
Caffeine helps to slow down the depletion of glycogen, allowing the body to conserve as much energy as possible for your workout. The caffeine from a cup of joe can also enhance the overall strength of muscle contractions, allowing you to exert more force for longer periods of time.
Before you skip breakfast, remember the benefits of consuming a light breakfast. By starting your workout after your morning meal, you can increase your endurance and your body’s ability to burn calories.
Make Smarter Choices
After getting up early to fit in an hour of cardio, the last thing you want to do is ruin your progress by downing a glazed donut. Working out regularly helps to alter your state of mind, encouraging you to make better decisions regarding your diet and overall health.
As your approach to fitness changes, so does your view of nutrition. The more you work out, the more you’ll notice the difference in the foods you eat. Instead of fast food and pizza delivery, you may opt for homemade chicken and veggie dishes. Instead of a slice of cake for dessert, a fruit and yogurt parfait will do in a pinch.
By getting up in the morning to workout, you’re making the decision to change your unhealthy lifestyle. You won’t want to mess it up over a plate of fries.
Trying to fit more exercise into your daily schedule? Consider working out in the morning. While difficult at first (we’re looking at you night owls), changing your habits to go to bed earlier, get a good night’s sleep, and wake bright and early for a heart-pumping workout session can improve your mood, energy, metabolic rate, and overall health two-fold. Discover all that you can accomplish minutes after getting out of bed.