How are you in the mornings? Full of beans and raring to go, or sluggish until you’ve had a cup of coffee or logged onto your work computer? If the latter resonates with you, and your sleepy morning slump is hard to shake, you might be open to considering a change to your daily routine – such as exercising early in the morning, before you launch into the day.
This post, courtesy of the workout gurus at Start Fitness, will explain the benefits of this shift towards AM exertion. There’s probably more to it than you think.
Coming into work in the morning, having already been for a run or completed a challenging workout at the gym will leave you feeling motivated and energised for the day ahead. You’ll be safe in the knowledge that you won’t have to go to the gym or get your running gear on after a taxing day at work – meaning the evening is yours to rest, relax and socialise.
This sense of accomplishment is also related to your mood hormones, which are released when you exercise. With dopamine and endorphins flying around your brain in the morning, you’re sure to have a more productive day no matter what you’re doing.
A hefty boost to your metabolism
Exercise in the morning elevates your metabolism, meaning that you’re burning more calories throughout the day. It’s much more useful to have an elevated metabolism during the day than at night when you’re meant to be sleeping – as this could affect your night’s rest. If you’re looking to lose weight, then this shift in routine could provide better results long-term, as an active metabolism is always useful in terms of weight loss.
According to the NHS, aerobic exercise can boost your basal metabolic rate (BMR) – which is essentially the rate at which your body burns calories to keep you going throughout the day. So, by getting active first thing, you can benefit all day long.
Beat the rush hour
Chances are, your gym will be emptier the earlier you get there in the morning, and there will be less competition for machines than during the post-work period when everyone is trying to squeeze in a workout before their commute home. An early start means you can avoid the masses and also get your head in the game for the working day.
If you’re a morning cyclist or runner, finishing your ride or run just before the morning rush hour can mean quieter streets, fewer cars on the road and more opportunity to concentrate on yourself and your workout.
Combining your workout with your commute is simple, too. Running to work is easy if you carry your work clothes in a well-secured backpack, while cycling to work has never been easier and more affordable due to the Government Cycle to Work Scheme, which offers a hefty percentage off the value of a bike if you use it for commuting purposes.
You’ll benefit from the routine
The human body responds well to routine, so once you’ve mastered the art of AM activity and the initial disruption to your circadian rhythms (your body’s interior sleep clock) has passed, you’ll be raring to go in the morning, whatever type of exercise you choose.
Circadian rhythms can be roughly split into two categories: those that apply to morning people and evening people. Morning people rise earlier in their circadian day, meaning that they’re more alert earlier and can benefit from exercising when they feel sharpest. For evening people, a quick pre-breakfast workout will help them shake off their AM lethargy.
It takes roughly two weeks to get attuned to a new morning routine, so don’t worry too much about feeling groggy the first few times you get up early. After this initial period passes, you’ll end up finding fewer and fewer reasons why you shouldn’t get up and get active in the morning.
We hope this post has inspired you to think about adding exercise into the very start of the day. Whether it’s rising with the larks and going jogging or taking in a sunrise bike ride, the benefits are numerous, and the routine will fall into place in no time at all.