The best time to work out is whenever it’s best for you and your schedule. However having said that, there are a lot great reasons – with some science to back it up – for working out in the morning. Here are five important reasons why you should work out in the morning.
Morning workouts tend to become a healthy habit.
Speaking from experience (and there’s data to back it up), if you add working out as part of your regular morning routine, you’re more likely to do it and be consistent with it. Distractions to stop you from exercise are far less likely than if you wait until the end of the day when you might be tired, running late at work, or headed to a social activity. Our advice? Set out your workout clothes the night before, put them on first thing in the morning as soon as you get out of bed, and get going!
You’ll consume fewer unnecessary calories.
A study published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise found that morning exercise might make food less appealing to you. The Brigham Young University researchers showed images of food to two groups of women: those who exercised in the morning and those who did not. The morning exercisers (45 minutes morning workouts) were less interested in images of food than women who skipped the workout. Those who worked out in the morning also did not consume more food than the other group throughout the day.
Pre-breakfast workouts can be beneficial for burning fat and sugar.
There’s plenty of studies to indicate that you not only burn more fat with a morning workout, especially if you do it before eating, but it’s also good for your sugar levels. In one study out of Belgium, three groups of young men were studied. The sedentary group gained weight, developed insulin resistance, and added new fat cells. The men who exercised after breakfast gained about three pounds each and developed insulin problems. However, the men who worked out in the morning before eating gained almost no weight and retained healthy insulin levels. They also burned more fat throughout the day than the other men. A 2013 British Journal of Nutrition study found exercising on an empty stomach can burn as much as 20 percent more fat than when a meal is eaten first. (Keep in mind that some people get lightheaded if they don’t eat before working out. In that case, have a light breakfast, wait a while, then exercise.)
You’ll sleep better at night.
Having trouble sleeping? Stop exercising at night. Evidence shows evening exercise is more likely to keep you up at night. The National Sleep Foundation says those who work out early in the morning experience deeper sleep cycles and “spend 75 percent more time in the most reparative stages of slumber than those who exercise at later times that day.” So, what are you waiting for? Lay out tomorrow morning’s workout clothes tonight!
It’s good for your blood pressure.
If you want to lower your blood pressure, do morning workouts for at least 30 minutes a day and add breaks in sitting all day. A study by the Baker Heart Institute in Australia in collaboration with the journal Hypertension (published February 2019) found that a morning workout supplemented by breaks in sitting throughout the day lowered blood pressure. The study found that morning exercise lowered the blood pressure for “a good portion of the day among older adults who are obese or overweight, especially women”. A half an hour of moderate-intensity walking in the morning reduced the average 8-hour blood pressure by 3.4/0.8 mm Hg.
One last bit of morning encouragement: Bringham Young University researchers found that people who work out in the morning end up being more active in general. And as we’ve said, you’re more likely to make exercise a habit if you do it in the morning, but any time you can get in a workout is the best time – whether that’s first thing in the morning, afternoon, or evening. The most important thing you can do is find a time to exercise, write it into your schedule, and watch it turn into a habit.