When you think about it, everyone starts their day with a little bit of exercise – you have to do at least one sit-up to get out of bed, right? For most people, this is where the morning fitness routine ends, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Though it may not sound as tempting as hitting the snooze button for the fourth or fifth time, a morning workout can have serious positive impacts on your mood, energy levels, and, of course, overall health and physical fitness.
If you’re someone who already exercises regularly, moving your workout to the beginning of the day could take your fitness to the next level and free up some time in the afternoon or evening. If you’re more of the sedentary type, trying out a morning workout routine could be your ticket to incorporating fitness into your life and developing more healthy habits.
Benefits of Morning Workouts
For many people, a steaming cup of coffee is the only way to get their morning started. Though caffeine is a great and extremely effective way to get going each day, it is also addictive and dehydrating, and since many people prefer to take their coffee with cream and sugar, it can be bad for your nutrition as well. These attributes, in addition to the crash that many coffee drinkers experience after their caffeine buzz wears off, mean that a daily cup of joe is not the best option in terms of overall health and fitness or all-day motivation.
A morning workout, on the other hand, can give you just as much energy as a cup of coffee, without any of the unpleasant side-effects. Working out has been shown to boost energy levels and focus, so a morning workout will make you sharper and more productive over the course of your entire day. These elevated energy levels also help to kickstart your metabolism, thereby regulating your weight. Working out in the morning could be your ticket to a healthy body and a productive day.
Additionally, working out gives you a boost of endorphins, the “feel-good” chemicals released by the brain. The post-workout “high” that many fitness buffs describe is the result of these endorphins flooding the system after a period of exertion. If you exercise in the morning, endorphins could help boost your mood over the course of the day and make you feel better in the long run. Regular exercise has been shown to improve overall mood and have a positive impact on mental health conditions like depression, anxiety, and ADHD, so a morning workout is healthy not only for your body, but for your brain as well.
In conjunction with the mood-boosting properties of regular exercise, working out in the morning can give you a sense of accomplishment that makes the rest of the day easier to tackle. Knowing that you have already completed something challenging first thing in the morning helps everyday difficulties seem more manageable: that deadline, test, or presentation that you’ve been sweating might not seem like such a big challenge when you’ve been sweating for real. Beyond that, accomplishing your workout in the morning means that you don’t have to worry about working out for the rest of the day. Especially if you’re someone who dreads exercise, getting it out of the way in the morning is a great way to free up your focus for other tasks.
How to Start Your Morning Workout Habit
Working out in the morning sounds great in theory, but in reality when your alarm is going off at 5:30 a.m. it can be hard to motivate yourself to get up and do a challenging workout. Luckily, there are a few ways you can find the momentum to get out of bed and start your day with some exercise.
The first and most important part of starting any workout routine, whether you do it in the morning or not, is to find a fitness program that you enjoy. Getting up to work out is much easier when you are actually excited about doing your exercise. If your fitness routine has you dreading going to the gym, it will be much more tempting to get an extra half hour of sleep instead, so pick a workout that is within your skill-level and is something that is fun for you.
Another great way to motivate yourself to work out in the morning is to set a short-term challenge. Telling yourself “I will go to the gym every morning for three weeks” sounds a lot more manageable than “I will go to the gym every morning.” By the time this short-term period is over, your body will be used to getting up and working out, and you may find that it has become an essential part of your day. However, if, at the end of this period, you still find getting up to work out more challenging than it’s worth, it may be time to find a workout schedule that is compatible with your internal clock. Either way, you will have completed something that makes you feel accomplished and is good for your overall health.
If you can incorporate working out into your daily morning routine and can find a workout that gets you excited about going to the gym, you will quickly notice the benefits of morning exercise – not only in physical gains, but also in mood, mental energy, and acuity. Working out in the morning helps ensure that you will start your day strong and gives you the energy to tackle whatever else may come your way!