If you’re not a morning person, rising early to exercise is likely the last thing on your mind. But by saving your workout until the end of the day, you may be missing out on some pretty significant benefits.
Don’t let the snooze button prevent you from achieving your fitness goals. Here are six perks of getting out of bed and starting your day off with a workout.
Get your workout out of the way. Even with the best intentions, it can be easy to skip your workout if you wait until later in the day. You get off work late, family obligations interfere, or you find some other excuse to tell yourself “I’ll do it tomorrow.” The best way to prevent a hectic schedule from obstructing your workout is to schedule it before any of the day’s other activities. Discipline is the key to any successful regimen. By making exercise the foundation of your day, you’re reminding yourself that it’s a high priority — not to mention giving yourself a strong incentive to stick to your commitment. Every day you make your workout the first thing you check off your to-do list is a day you’ll end feeling a real sense of accomplishment.
Kick the caffeine habit. If you need a cup of joe (or two) to help you function in the morning, try a heart-pumping workout instead. Exercise gets your endorphins (a.k.a., your “feel good” hormones) flowing and gives you the energy boost you’ll need to tackle the day ahead. A good workout can also improve your mental clarity and increase your productivity.
Jumpstart your metabolism. Exercise before eating breakfast and the fat-burning benefits of your workout will last long after you’ve hit the showers. Rather than waiting until the end of the day to rev it up, flip the switch on your metabolism first thing so you’ll burn more calories throughout the entire day. Research suggests you can burn up to 20 percent more body fat by exercising before having your morning meal. Just be sure to eat nutritious, protein-rich breakfast after your workout.
Stress less. Exercise is a great natural stress reliever. Physical activity reduces the level of stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol, in the body. Exercise also releases endorphins, which serve as your body’s natural painkillers and mood elevators. Whether you’re a busy professional or a stay-at-home parent, stressful situations are a fact of life. Why not start your day off feeling less stressed? You’ll be better prepared mentally and emotionally for whatever curveballs life throws your way.
Sleep better. Exercise is a stimulant, so if you’re planning to workout later in the day, you might as well plan to stay up past your intended bedtime. By moving your workout to the morning hours, you’ll find it easier to wind down and sleep peacefully at night.
Eat better. When you start your day making a healthy choice by exercising, you’re forming good habits that will you to continue making healthy choices throughout your day. Why sabotage all of your hard work by hitting the drive-thru at lunch? People who exercise in the morning are more likely to eat a healthier, more nutritious lunch and dinner.
While there are plenty of reasons to schedule your workout in the morning, the important thing is that you make time for exercise 5 days of the week (if not more). For a healthy heart, the American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise every week. If you’re looking to lose weight, talk to your doctor or schedule an appointment with a certified trainer to make a fitness plan that will set you up for success and help you meet your goals.