It's tempting for athletes and non-athletes to sleep in or postpone workouts for later in the day rather than in the morning—especially if they're not early risers.
Here are six compelling and motivational reasons for scheduling morning workouts—particularly during the warm summer months, and also year-round. But first, heed these early morning exercise recommendations:
- Aim for eight to nine hours of restful and energy-boosting sleep for performing exercise movements without tiring. If regularly exercising in the early mornings, be in bed early enough to get the suggested eight-nine hours of nightly sleep.
- Consume a small easily digestible carbohydrate/protein meal with water about an hour before exercising to maximize performance. For convenience, prepare the small meal the night before and store it in the fridge for quick access (particularly if morning workout time is limited), and allow sufficient digestion time prior to exercising.
- Follow workouts with a post-exercise carbohydrate/protein meal to promote recovery (optimally consumed within 15-30 minutes after training.)
- Perform a dynamic lower- and upper-body warm-up because muscles and joints are generally tighter earlier in the day and finish workouts with lower- and upper-body cooldown static stretches for greater flexibility and range of motion.
Six Morning Exercise Benefits
Beating the Heat
Perhaps the most logical or obvious reason to train earlier in the day is to avoid working out in summer heat and humidity later. Exercising when it's generally cooler in the early morning is also healthier to prevent heat-related cramping, fatigue (disrupting and ruining workouts) and worse, a possible heat stroke.
Early Birds Catch the Worm
Be an early bird exerciser before heading to school or work (so the workout is over and done without having to schedule it around other activities. Also, training early in the day makes the remaining time available for other things you'd like to do.
Get an Early Mood-Boosting/Energizing Endorphin Rush
Exercising any time during the day stimulates desirable mood-elevating endorphins. Working out early in the morning, however, gets the endorphins flowing for optimizing energy and a positive outlook for the rest of the day!
Start the Day with a Feeling of Accomplishment
Completing something productive and worthwhile such as an intense or challenging workout elicits a great feeling of achievement to begin the day on a high note.
Jump-Start Fat-Burning Metabolism
Beginning mornings with a heavy weight training session or high-intensity interval training, for example, are both excellent for revving fat-burning metabolism throughout the day.
Make Morning Workouts a Year-Round Routine
Early morning summer workouts can become habit-forming throughout the year (in a good way)—as exercising before school or work can be more preferable than scheduling them later. Busy schedules during other times of the year can sap one's mental and physical energy and attitude for even considering evening workouts, for instance.
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