By Linda T. Gottlieb, MA, CPT, CET
I won’t lie. Exercising any time in your day is beneficial, and would make a personal trainer like me very happy! However, research continually emphasizes that exercising first thing in your day is the best way to get going. Here are 5 reasons why:
1) Better performance- at work or at anything you do
We know that exercise helps to dramatically decrease stress levels. When you begin your day with exercise, you are more focused, more energized and so much more ready to tackle whatever the day has in store. Workers demonstrate increased productivity and are able to handle complex tasks more successfully when their day starts with a workout.
2) Metabolism boost
Exercise causes your metabolic rate to increase, so your body burns calories quicker and more efficiently, and I can’t think of anyone who wouldn’t love that! Also, people who exercise earlier in the day make better food choices for their entire day.
3) Better sleep
A study at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center found that participants who exercised in the morning had better quality sleep than those that worked out later in the day. Sleep is critical to healing and managing stress, especially during cancer treatment; moving earlier in the day allows your evenings to be a time for relaxation, leading to an improved nights rest.
4) Increasing your commitment to sticking with exercise
The top reason for not exercising is always “I simply don’t have the time.” Exercising first thing in the morning helps you get this critical self care activity accomplished before the days inevitable interruptions derail your good intentions. Also, the more time you have to think about it, the more time you have to make excuses. A study at the University of Texas confirms that morning exercises were more consistent than afternoon or evening exercisers.
5) A happier YOU
One of the major reasons exercise helps manage stress is that it releases endorphins, those happy chemicals that elevate your mood and decrease pain levels. Ever heard of “runners high?” Well, you don’t have to run a marathon to benefit from boosted spirits and improved calm. Researchers at Glasgow University concluded that people who exercised in the morning experienced more dramatic increases of well-being than those who exercised later in the day. Why not get those happy chemicals switched “on” earlier?
No matter when you choose to exercise, the benefits are significant. Making exercise a routine part of your day is a great way to support your healing and good health.