Working out regularly is something we all know we should do. How and when should it be done? Is it really that important? There is no doubt about it. The most important thing is to stay active in the long run. According to the latest Centers for Disease Control (PDF) figures, fewer than a quarter of all Americans get the recommended amounts of aerobic activity and strength training. Don’t worry if you’re not a morning person. Circadian rhythms allow us to be at our strongest and fastest between 7 pm and 11 pm, according to researchers at the University of South Carolina. Exercise in the evening is not harmful. The benefits of getting in your fitness before you start your day are numerous. So if you tend to slack off or worry that your day will fly by, get your exercise in before breakfast. Exercise in the morning also has some quantifiable benefits.
THE FAT IS LOST QUICKER
When you exercise before eating breakfast, fat is oxidized. In addition to oxidizing more fat molecules, you reduce your risk for Type 2 diabetes. Losing weight can be accelerated by exercising before eating, which mimics a fasting state. Eat a banana or a small energy bar 10 minutes before you start sweating if you have low blood sugar.
PERFORMANCE IS IMPROVED
When we start our day, we all need an energy boost, and movement provides that. Additionally, exercising in the morning has been shown to improve focus and mental abilities throughout the day. A workout will not only make you feel more alert and energetic, but it will also calm your mind and prepare you for the day ahead.
STRESS IS MANAGED BY YOU
By the time you get to work, those endorphins should be kicking in to make you feel better. You’ll also feel motivated and accomplished. That’s a great way to start the day. Additionally, since you’ve already worked out, you won’t feel so bad about working late. Those who exercise in the morning regularly report feeling more empowered and have a better work-life balance.
YOU WILL SLEEP BETTER
The idea of getting up early for a workout (especially in the beginning) may seem counterintuitive. However, morning exercise has been linked to better sleep. Researchers found that morning exercisers who worked out three to four hours a week had less trouble falling asleep. Evening exercisers had more difficulty falling asleep than morning exercisers. When you get into a good sleep habit, you’ll have more energy for your workouts at the beginning of the day than at the end.