It can feel like the last thing you want to do sometimes (or, let’s be honest – most of the time!) but getting up early for a morning work out has lots of health benefits.
Health benefits of early workouts
For one thing, having your daily work out done and dusted before the day begins means you’ve set your metabolism whirring, and will be burning extra calories all day long. Of course you’ll also be the cheeriest soul in the office through a combination of endorphins, lowered cortisol and general smugness!
How to get good at early starts
So how do you become an early bird? Try remembering these different benefits for instant morning motivation.
Focus on the benefits of early morning workouts
You’ll sleep well tonight – better than ever, in fact. People who exercise at 7am experience deeper, longer sleep than gym bunnies who work out in the afternoon or evening, according to a study by Appalachian State University. This is because boosting your endorphins late in the day can make it harder to nod off.
Stick to your morning work out
Hang in there in the knowledge that it will get easier. It takes two months (or 66 days) for a behaviour to become an automatic habit, according to the European Journal of Social Psychology, so pretty soon the mornings won’t seem as tough.
You’re less likely to cancel a morning workout
It’s all too easy to cancel an evening workout because something more fun has come up (or you’re tired, have housework to do, etc, etc). Getting it done first thing means exactly that – you don’t need to use up brain space during the day by trying to squeeze it in later. Remember the free evening you’re saving when you go to hit the alarm clock.
You lose more weight working out in the morning
How’s this for motivation: work out before breakfast and you’ll burn more fat than normal, as your body won’t be able to use your last meal for fuel, and will start burning your fat reserves more quickly. On top of that, you’ll find your diet easier to stick to, as people who work out in the morning eat less throughout the day compared to evening exercisers, according to a study from Iran.
And finally, get a dose of daylight on your way to the gym, or walk the dog in the park, for added weight loss benefits. People who get sunlight within two hours of waking are thinner and better able to manage their weight, regardless of what they eat, according to a study from the International Journal of Endocrinology.
Get an early night
Perhaps the most obvious – and yet routinely overlooked – piece of advice is that getting up earlier means you’re going to need an earlier night! But at least, as mentioned above, you’ll be sleeping more soundly as a result of your new routine, so dropping off should be simple.