How to become a morning exercise person
It’s not clear when the ideal time of day to exercise is. Studies have suggested that the weight loss benefits are highest in the morning, but improvements in blood sugar and cholesterol may be best in the afternoon.
Realistically, physical activity is most effective whenever you can do it consistently, the New York Times said in an article.
Despite the challenge of waking up early enough for a workout, mornings are better for most people because they have more control over their time before the commitments of the day kick in, said Dr Ciarán Friel, an exercise physiologist at the Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research in New York City.
It’s not easy, however, to simply jump out of bed in the morning and start running, swimming or lifting weights. If you’re looking to build a sustainable morning exercise routine, here’s what experts say can help.
Almost every cell in the body functions on a daily rhythm that lasts approximately 24 hours. This cycle determines not just when we fall asleep and wake up, but also our body temperature, our hunger pangs, our hormones and more.
To wake up earlier and start a morning exercise routine, “what we’re trying to do is not just shift your bedtime, but actually shift your entire circadian clock to be earlier,” said Kimberly Fenn, a cognitive neuroscientist who studies sleep and learning at Michigan State University. “That’s the ultimate goal.”
In the morning, we get a flood of the hormone cortisol, which is thought to help wake us up, among other things, Dr. Fenn said. But if you suddenly switch your alarm clock from 8 a.m. to 6 a.m., your cortisol levels won’t be high enough when it rings and you may struggle more than usual to get out of bed. Instead, she recommended gradually going to sleep at an earlier time.
Work backward. Make your plan.
First, you need to figure out how exercise will fit into your mornings. Think about your morning deadline, or the time of your earliest immovable obligation, such as driving your kids to school or arriving at the office, and work backward.
Avoid distractions that can slow you down, like checking your email right when you wake up. Try laying your exercise clothes out the night before to save time.
Once you identify your morning deadline, you can consider your preference.