by Greg Landry
If I had to pick a single factor that I thought was most important in a successful exercise or weight loss program, it would be to exercise first thing in the morning – every morning! Some mornings, you may just be able to fit in a 10 minute walk, but it’s important to try to do something every morning.
So why mornings?…
1. Over 90% of people who exercise *consistently*, exercise in the morning. If you want to exercise consistently, odds are in your favor if you exercise first thing in the morning.
2. When you exercise early in the morning, it “jump starts” your metabolism and keeps it elevated for hours, sometimes up to 24 hours! That means you’re burning more calories all day long just because you exercised in the morning!
3. When you exercise in the morning you’ll be *energized* for the day! Personally, I feel dramatically different on days when I have and haven’t exercised in the morning.
4. Many people find that morning exercise “regulates” their appetite for the day – that they aren’t as hungry and that they make better food choices. Several people have told me that it puts them in a “healthy mindset.”
5. If you exercise at about the same time every morning, and ideally wake-up at about the same time on a regular basis, your body’s endocrine system and circadian rhythms adjust to that. Physiologically, some wonderful things begin to happen; A couple of hours *before* you awaken, your body begins to prepare for waking and exercise because it “knows” it’s about to happen. Why? Because it “knows” you do the same thing just about everyday. You benefit from that in several ways..
o It’s MUCH easier to wake-up. When you wake-up at different times everyday, it confuses your body and thus it’s never really “prepared” to awaken.
o Your metabolism and all the hormones involved in activity and exercise begin to elevate while you’re sleeping. Thus, you feel more alert, energized, and ready to exercise when you do wake-up.
o Hormones prepare your body for exercise by regulating blood pressure, heart rate, blood flow to muscles, etc.
6. For many people, that appointed time every morning becomes something they look forward to. It’s time they’ve set aside to do something good for themselves – to take care of their body, mind, and soul. Many find that it’s a great time to think clearly, pray, plan their day, or just relax mentally.
7. Research has demonstrated that exercise increases mental acuity. On average it lasts four to ten hours after exercise! No sense in wasting that brain power while you’re sleeping. 🙂
8. Exercise first thing in the morning is really the only way to assure that something else won’t crowd exercise out of your schedule. When your days get hectic, exercise usually takes a back seat!
9. If finding time to exercise is difficult, anyone can get up 30 to 60 minutes earlier to exercise (if it’s a priority in your life). If necessary, you can go to sleep a little earlier. Also, research has demonstrated that people who exercise on a regular basis have a higher quality of sleep and thus require less sleep!
10. You’ll feel GREAT! DO IT! 🙂
By Greg Landry, M.S., Exercise Physiologist www.greglandryfitness.com
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