Fitness Articles

Learn to Love A.M. Exercise

(Even if You're Not a Morning Person)

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I am not a morning person.
This confession will come as no surprise to my friends and family, most of whom have spent many glorious years making merry over my tendency to nod off over breakfast, my need for copious amounts of coffee before noon, and my late-night bursts of productivity.
For years I’ve tried to pretend I’m one of “them”—those chirpy, cheerful folks who rise effortlessly at dawn to go after that proverbial worm. I’ve also spent many years suppressing the urge to complain bitterly about a world where night owls like me suffer grievous discrimination at the hands of those ubiquitous “normal” people.
So those who know me best are always startled—no, make that shocked—to find out that I do most of my exercising in the early hours of the day, anywhere from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. They’re even more astonished, after an initial double take, to discover that I actually like to get my exercise in early.
And though my morning-exercise regimen started out as a concession to the practical constraints of my life, I have since discovered that there are some very good benefits to learning to love exercise in the morning—so I’ll share with you my “Top Ten Reasons” for getting up with the early birds to get moving:
  1. Exercising early in the morning "jump starts" your metabolism, keeping it elevated for hours, sometimes for up to 24 hours! As a result, you’ll be burning more calories all day long—just because you exercised in the morning.
  2. Exercising in the morning energizes you for the day—not to mention that gratifying feeling of virtue you have knowing you’ve done something disciplined and good for you. (Much better than a worm!)
  3. Studies have shown that exercise significantly increases mental acuity—a benefit that lasts four to ten hours after your workout ends. Exercising in the a.m. means you get to harness that brainpower, instead of wasting it while you’re snoozing.
  4. Assuming you make exercise a true priority, it shouldn’t be a major problem to get up 30 to 60 minutes earlier—especially since regular exercise generally means a higher quality of sleep, which in turn means you’ll probably require less sleep. (If getting up 30 to 60 minutes earlier each day seems too daunting, you can ease into it with 10 to 20 minutes at first.)
  5. When you exercise at about the same time every morning—especially if you wake up regularly at about the same time—you’re regulating your body's endocrine system and circadian rhythms. Your body learns that you do the same thing just about every day, and it begins to prepare for waking and exercise several hours before you actually open your eyes. That’s beneficial because:
    • Your body’s not “confused” by wildly changing wake-up times, which means waking up is much less painful. (You may even find that you don’t need an alarm clock most days.)
    • Hormones prepare your body for exercise by regulating blood pressure, heart rate, blood flow to muscles, etc.
    • Your metabolism, along with all the hormones involved in activity and exercise, begin to elevate while you're sleeping. As a result, you’ll feel more alert, energized, and ready to exercise when you do wake up. Continued ›
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About The Author

Rebecca Pratt Rebecca Pratt
A freelance writer who contributes to various newspapers and magazines, Becky loves covering ordinary people doing extraordinary things.

Member Comments

  • Something I never see mentioned in articles about the benefit of exercising in the morning is that (for me, at least) I get more exercise done in less time because I am not so tired! If I wait till late to get on the treadmill, I TRUDGE along as if I am walking in molasses! In the morning, it takes me a few minutes to warm up, but then I can walk faster and longer than if I do it at night. If I walk the same amount of time that I do at night, I actually walk faster and farther. I usually add more minutes just because it feels so good! Maybe it's just because I am old! :) :) - 6/13/2016 9:51:54 PM
  • This is a great article, and I can believe that early morning exercise is a positive habit to cultivate. I wish, however, someone could come up with as many good reasons for late morning, afternoon and early evening exercise for those of us who have chronic pain and often are unable to sleep well until 2 hours before we have to get up. I so appreciate the importance of daily exercise and movement, but I guess my body is always wondering what the heck is going on because the only time I have regularly scheduled exercise is when I go to exercise classes 2x a week. The rest of the time, it's whenever I'm up for a walk (except when I'm the only one home to take our dog out...then I'm on her schedule), weight training or something more ambitious. - 6/2/2016 10:47:55 AM
  • This is a very good article! Will start to think about the items listed when I don't want to get out of the bed! :) - 4/7/2016 4:33:09 PM
  • Interesting article! I am reluctant to exercise in the morning but go to the gym one or two days a week at 7:30 in the morning because my schedule makes it impossible to go in the evening (which I prefer). I look at all the positives of this "forced" schedule- it feels great to not worry that the weather will turn bad in the evening and make it hard for me to drive, and I do feel more energized the rest o the day. Plus I feel it is good to mix it up so your body is used to exercise at various times of the day. - 3/26/2016 7:51:02 AM
  • I consider myself a morning person, usually wake up a few minutes before my 6 AM alarm, but I don't get enough sleep as it is to wake up any earlier, as I don't usually get to bed until 10-11PM. I work 10 hours on my feet, run errands, then homework and computer time and my bedtime routine. I did kickboxing after work today and didn't even get home until almost 9, and still have stuff to do. - 3/17/2016 10:33:25 PM
  • I am not and have never been a morning person - especially on gloomy, grey spring mornings! I guess I'm part bear because I'd love to just hibernate through the short days/long nights. My day tomorrow is chock full so the only time I have to get my walk in is in the morning so I'll be dragging myself out of bed to do it. It's supposed to be 14C tomorrow and sunny so it shouldn't be too much of a hardship! This morning was grey and rainy at 1C so my exercise will wait until it brightens up somewhat. - 3/11/2016 10:36:58 AM
  • I am a morning person, but have to work on my exercise, I get discouraged because I can't walk that far and am slow, sometimes feel that what I am wasting my times. - 3/10/2016 3:54:10 PM
  • I am sure this article was well meaning but for me I cannot usually bring myself to exercise in the morning unless forced to. I guess that's just how I am made. Now WORK is something else entirely (paid or for myself). - 2/4/2016 8:56:59 PM
  • This is so true. The most success that I have had is when I made morning exercise a part of may daily routine. It sets you up for better decisions the rest of the day. No morning coffee needed, after working out that muffin seemed like a waist of a good workout and free headspace in the morning. - 12/22/2015 1:47:10 PM
  • My reason to exercise in the morning - just to get it over with.
    - 11/9/2015 8:48:56 AM
  • I am definitely an AM person and I love to exercise in the morning. - 11/9/2015 6:12:58 AM
  • Isn't just getting up and getting in the shower enough exercise in the morning?! :) - 10/7/2015 2:36:48 PM
  • I always enjoy exercise in the AM thank goodness. by the evening I am spent, - 9/7/2015 8:04:17 AM
  • I can get a few minutes in during the morning but I'm literally stumbling around first thing in the morning. Ten minutes on the treadmill and another ten walking the dog gets some of my exercise out of the way early, but I am able to concentrate better in the afternoon or evening to get the more intense stuff done. - 8/9/2015 9:40:18 AM
  • Great article on the benefits of morning exercise!-- It can be a time for prayer also--- as mentioned here. Physical and spiritual benefits--Wow! - 6/26/2015 1:10:58 PM

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