11 Benefits Of Running In The Morning
Many of us rarely stray from our after-work workout, but there are plenty of benefits to exercising in the morning. Yes, the debate of morning or evening running session is as old as your thread-bare trainer socks, but trust me, there are plenty of benefits of running in the morning, even if you're not a natural early bird.
Let's break down the facts and my personal experience on why it is beneficial to run in the morning opposed to the evening.
1. It reduces stress
It's no secret that any form of physical exercise releases happiness hormones, known as endorphins. According to WebMD, the release of these endorphins triggers positive feelings and even reduces your perception of pain.
Stress and pain are effectively two sides of the same coin as they experience significant conceptual and physiological overlaps. Therefore by proxy, running reduces stress.
Since running decreases emotional strain, running in the morning is the optimal time to do so as it effectively clears any emotional distress from your brain and sets yourself up for a great day.
2. It's easier to commit to
Running in the morning is hard — especially if you're not a morning person. But have you ever tried to work out after a long, hard day at work? Tiredness is a buzzkill.
While hauling yourself our of bed in the mornings is a struggle and a half, once you've completed your morning run, you can rest easy knowing that you have the day ahead of you to complete as you please.
If you're new to running, just think, pounding the pavements in the morning is a sure-fire way to get this run out the way so you can get on with your day.
3. The elements are on your side
Okay, we're not all yoga-granola, my-body- is-a-temple, let's-connect-with-the-earth-and-channel-its-energies humans. However, there is something about witnessing the natural beauty of the morning that is grounding.
When you take up running in the morning, you'll notice two things.
Firstly, you'll tune into the quiet — the lack of cars on the roads, the morning bird song, the gentle sunrise. You'll learn to appreciate the small moments of the morning.
Secondly, you'll notice that your body responds to wake of the sun — or at least you will after a week or so. You may have heard of circadian rhythms — they're effectively 24-hour rhythms that are part of your body's internal clock.
A Psychological Society study suggests that scheduling your workouts for the morning can hack your circadian rhythm and help you tune into your sleep-wake cycle. In short, you'll be able to become a morning person if you make yourself get up and workout in the morning because, if you work out early as nature wants us to, you'll establish a routine, feel more refreshed in the mornings and reach your peak performance.
4. You'll experience a better night's sleep
Morning running doesn't only help you feel more energised and awake a the start of the day, it also encourages a better night's sleep. Studies show that people who work out in the morning spend more time in a deep sleep in comparison to those who work out at midday or in the evening.
This may be because you need to practice good sleep hygiene to be able to rise at an earlier hour. For example, you may avoid caffeine or alcohol three hours before you sleep, plan to go to sleep at the same time every night or avoid those midday power naps. All of which are good habits to adopt so you can have a restful night's sleep and rise early.
5. You'll have a greater performance
We all know that when it comes to running, consistency is key. Now if running is your basic form of exercise, then it really doesn't matter when you run. Serious kudos for simply getting out there!
But, a 2012 paper claims that regularly training at a set time of day has a greater impact on performance. This suggests that if you consistently run in the morning, you'll reap plenty of results and benefits — including the ability to be a morning person and function properly as the sun wakes.
6. It helps you make good choices throughout the day
Does working out in the morning boost your metabolism? The simple answer is yes. However, remember that regardless of the time of day, any workout will increase your metabolic rate.
But as your metabolism increased during your morning workout, you're more likely to maintain that health-forward focus and make better food and activity choices throughout the day.
7. You'll burn more fat
If you're in the workout game for the weight loss, then you may want to consider a morning run. Studies show that a morning session can burn up to three time as more fat compared to working out at any other time during the day.
The reason? Your body's main source of energy is carbohydrates, which it of course uses throughout the night as you sleep. In the morning, your body is on the hunt for carbs to burn, but since you lack them, it will turn to fat to burn for energy instead.
8. It lowers your blood pressure
Running in the morning lowers blood pressure according to a Hypertension paper. This is particularly amongst older adults who are obese.
But, let it be known that if you are genetically programmed for high blood pressure, which many of us are, exercising in the morning may not be enough to protect the pressure-sensitive tissues.
9. You'll have a less crowded run
In a Covid-19 age, nothing screams peacefulness like an empty pavement or park. If you decide to become a morning runner, you'll be blessed with a less crowded running route.
Of course, you can reap these benefits with a late-night run too. But, trust me, there's no better feeling that knowing you beat everyone else to it and made the most of the tumbleweeds at sunrise.
10. You'll wake your body up
I'm assuming that if you're reading this, you're not a morning runner. And that's okay — I wasn't once upon a time either, and there are things you learn as you become a runner. But, running in the morning is a great way to combat your sleeping zombie mode.
If you aren't a morning person, prepare your running clothes and equipment the night before, and trust me, as long as you obey your morning alarm, after a few minutes our plodding along the pavements you'll begin to feel with it and pumped.
By the time you're home, stretched out and showered, you'll feel more refreshed and energised than your colleagues, despite your early alarm.
11. You'll get your evenings back
Early morning alarms can be a killer. But one of the biggest benefits to working out in the morning is knowing you can finish a work day and do what ever you please. If you are unexpectedly slammed with meetings or a call that overruns in the evening — no bother, you've already had your workout.
By becoming a morning runner you, arguably, get your life back because suddenly you have evening time to spare. The runners high you experienced after your morning run could last all day as you set off into the evening following your own agenda.
It's clear that there are plenty of benefits to running in the morning. I firmly believe that if you want to be a morning runner, commit to doing so for a few weeks. They say it takes 12 weeks to make a habit, so why not take the plunge and see how you get on?
What I urge you to bear in mind at all times is whether a morning routine is best for you. Or at least, whether a strict 5am-every-morning running routine is for you. Let's face it, for many of us, a routine that strict or harsh is rarely beneficial for our work or personal life.
When it comes to making it as a morning runner, you have to listen to your body and its energy levels. Stay in tune with tour body and mind to avoid burnout, look after yourself and ultimately, put your best foot forward.
Want to inspire your friends and family members to run in the morning? Consider sending them an inspirational gift.