Early Risers: Benefits of Morning Exercise

For 14 of my 17 years as a middle school teacher, I religiously awakened while it was still dark, and either went to the gym, went for a run outside, or worked out at home. The benefits of doing this far outweighed the occasional sleepiness I might have felt at around 10:30 or 11:00 a.m.

But what about these benefits…they better be pretty substantial in order to motivate even the most dedicated person to set their alarm at a time when only garbage men and newspaper delivery people are out and about.

You can easily have your fitness plan derailed due to an impromptu meeting, sick child, or you have a tough day and you lose your motivation. You put aside your priorities to help those around upi. A redeeming quality to say the least, but it doesn’t help you fit into “skinny” jeans.

Here are 6 surprisingly important reasons to set that alarm and get up tomorrow to workout before starting your day…

1. Increase in fat oxidation. When working out on an empty stomach, the oxidation of fat is increased by at least 20% and this higher rate will carry on throughout the day. Morning workouts result in a higher metabolism all day long.
2. Consume less calories. After a morning run or session at the gym, individuals are less likely to overindulge due to the positive feelings that come with completing a strong morning workout. Workout early, eat less throughout that day.
3. Feel accomplished. There truly is no better feeling than knowing that you have done something good for yourself. This feeling of accomplishment can get you through even the toughest day at school with a smile.
4. Sleep better. Research shows that working out early in the day will positively impact your sleep some 15 hours later. Deeper, longer sleep sessions is the result for those who are early risers and even better than that…the quality of sleep has been shown to be much higher in early exercisers.
5. Build more muscle. Testosterone levels are at their peak upon awakening so this is prime time for muscle-building in both men and women. The body is in a perfect position to build muscle first thing in the morning so why not take advantage of it?
6. Set a healthy tone. Who wants to ruin the results of a tough workout by eating garbage? An early session of exercise lets the body and mind know that it is going to be good, healthy day. Why negate the effects of the workout?

So many fabulous benefits to working out early in the day, but what if is just feels too challenging? Below are 5 tips to help make it a reality:

-Set clothes out the night before and make it easy to get up and get dressed.
-Plan to meet a friend to workout. Nobody wants to disappoint a friend.
-Before going to bed, review the health benefits of getting up early and imprint that in the brain so it knows that it must get up.
-Plan the workout the night before. What gets planned gets done.
-If working out solo, share the goal of getting up early with a friend and tell them to ask about it. No one wants to have to admit not following through.

Put these strategies into place and set that alarm. But be forewarned, your family and friends will not recognize you once this becomes a habit. The increase in energy and overall positive attitude will be like nothing they have seen from you. Not only will you benefit, but they will too.

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