Most of us know that exercises, in general, are good. But what time of day should you exercise?
Should you exercise in the morning because it has more benefits than exercising in the afternoon or evening?
Regardless of whether you’re a morning person or a night owl, there’s growing evidence that morning exercises has so many benefits.
In this article, we will go over some of the benefits of exercising in the morning. Let’s dive in!
1. You’ll improve your mood for the day
If you wake up cranky and groggy, chances are that your mood will cast a spell on the rest of your day. Morning exercises act as a radar tuner, shaping your mood for the day. Let me explain.
When we exercise, our brain produces a hormone called serotonin. Serotonin is in charge of making the brain feel happy which has effects on our moods.
But that’s not all! Our brains also release other neurotransmitters and hormones including endorphins, dopamine, norepinephrine.
Dopamine, “plays a role in learning and memory formation and reward in particular, making you feel good,” Stephanie Fine Sasse, the Executive & Creative Director at The People’s Science says.
Steph is a trained Harvard University and Oregon Health & Sciences University researcher and has spent years studying and teaching how the brain works and changes.
So essentially, dopamine is associated with whatever makes us feel good. Ever heard of the runner’s high? It’s an example of the mood boost as a result of the brain releasing endorphins we get when we exercise.
The thing is we only get this when we exercise. So why not set the mood for your day by exercising? Exercises will improve your mental health in general.
2. You’ll have more energy and be alert
Findings from several studies suggest that exercise directly impacts the central nervous system by boosting energy and reducing fatigue.
A study by the researchers at the University of Georgia found that regular, low-intensity exercises like a simple jog or even casual stroll can boost energy levels by 20 percent and decrease fatigue by 65 percent.
According to Patrick O’Connor who helped in the research, “Exercise is a way for people to feel more energetic.
There’s a scientific basis for it, and there are advantages to it compared to things like caffeine and energy drinks.”A simple jog or even casual stroll can boost energy levels by 20 percent and decrease fatigue by 65 percent. Click To Tweet
Morning exercises can be your energy supplement. It improves blood flow and helps provide oxygen and nutrients to muscle tissue. The result is increased energy levels in the body.
3. You’ll sleep better at night
While researchers are yet to find the definitive mechanism in the human body that connects exercise with sleep, there’s firm evidence about its impacts.
According to Charlene Gamaldo, M.D., medical director of Johns Hopkins Center for Sleep, “moderate aerobic exercise increases the amount of slow-wave sleep you get.
Slow-wave sleep refers to deep sleep, where the brain and body have a chance to rejuvenate.”
If you have trouble falling asleep at night, morning exercises can help set you up for a restful sleep.
4. You’ll feel confident and accomplished
One of the benefits of morning exercise, in the long run, is that it boosts self-confidence and self-esteem.
After going through months of regular morning workout routines, you look healthier and fitter.
That alone leaves you feeling unstoppable and strong.
We appreciate ourselves even more because we have been able to satisfy some inner need. Better self-esteem goes a long way to improve our productivity and social lives too.
5. You’re likely to lose body fat faster
When we exercise our bodies use up energy as fuel.
The participants were grouped into four categories, including those who did:
- no exercise at all (control)
- 60-minutes exercise before breakfast (morning)
- post-lunch exercise for 60-minutes (afternoon)
- 60-minutes exercise after dinner (evening)
The findings showed an increase in fat oxidation (burning fat as fuel) for the group that exercised before breakfast. And burning body fat as fuel is linked to weight loss.
According to a study in The Journal of Physiology, people who exercise in a fasted state can eat a high-calorie diet with no significant impact on weight gain.
But wait there’s even more!
In another study, researchers supervised overweight and sedentary young adults in an exercise program over 10 months.
Participants were grouped based on the time they finished working out:
- between 7:00 and 11:59 am
- between 3:00 and 7:00 pm
- any time during the day
- no exercise at all
The findings which were published in the International Journal of Obesity revealed that the group that exercised before noon lost more weight than those who worked out after 3 p.m.
Although generalizations can’t be made because of the small sample size, the report is clear that if you exercise early in the day, you tend to be more active (Related: Should You Exercise Before Bed?)
6. You’ll reduce the risks of diabetes
One of the benefits of morning exercise, especially before breakfast, is connected to diabetes.
Morning exercises can help improve insulin resistance which is linked to reducing diabetes risk. Let me explain.
When we eat food with carbohydrates (not fasting), our body’s digestive tract breaks down the ones it can into sugar that gets into the blood.
This increases the sugar levels in our blood. And this, in turn, signals to our pancreas to produce insulin so our cells can absorb the blood sugar for energy.
In other words, eating food keeps you in a constant state of insulin production.
In one study, Belgian researchers found that people who exercised without eating any food before and during the exercises showed an improved insulin sensitivity.
7. You’ll reduce blood pressure
Studies show that people are most likely to get a heart attack early in the morning.
A study published in the Vascular Health and Risk Management set out to investigate exercise timing on blood pressure.
The researchers enrolled participants in a 30-minutes of treadmill supervised workout in groups that exercised at 7 am, 1 pm and 7 pm.
The findings showed that the group that did the early morning exercises (7 am) reduced their blood pressure by 10 percent. This reduction was sustained and in some dipped even further to at least 25 percent.
The benefit of morning exercise is that can be a great preventive measure against spiking blood pressure.
8. You’ll improve metabolism
Metabolism is the process by which our bodies convert what we eat and drink to energy.
Our bodies constantly depend on this process to keep functioning, even when we’re resting.
Think about it, even at rest, your body still needs to breathe, circulate blood, grow, and repair cells.
The amount of calories you need for these life-dependent activities is called the basal metabolic rate. This rate varies based on your age, sex and body type.
The good news is when you exercise in the morning, the benefit of metabolism is sustained throughout the day. This means you continue to burn calories all day long.
9. You’ll overcome procrastination
I don’t know about you but there’s always something I need to do. My task list doesn’t get any shorter by day.
The problem is that it’s tempting to push off working out to later in the day. And when we do, we are not able to stick to it because (spoiler alert) other things do come up.
Brian Tracy wrote an excellent book called Eat That Frog. Brian’s message was simple but practical: do the hardest things first. Otherwise, we will put it off and never do it.
For most of us, exercising is truly the hardest (physically intensive) thing we’ll ever do during the day. At least that’s true for me.
One of the benefits of my morning exercise is that I’m able to get it done and out of the way. I can then reap the benefits of the workouts during the day. You cannot put off exercising if your Eat That Frog in the morning.
10. You’ll reduce stress
Modern-day work is full of stressful events. Meetings that drag and become pointless, obstinate customers, demanding and obnoxious bosses, family commitments, and on and on and on.
Morning exercises are good for dealing with stress.
The benefits of exercise out in the morning is that in addition to the feel-good endorphins our brain releases, we are active.
And it also makes us alert which helps us to tackle all the things thrown at us during the day.