Hearing an alarm blurt out in darkness is the ultimate wakeup call. Groggy-eyed and tempted to push "Snooze", you'll go through a long list of reasons to sleep in. But what if there's another long list of reasons to get up? While the thought of putting on running shoes and logging miles in the wee hours of the morning is unappealing to most, there are a number of mental and physical perks to commonly undesirable early a.m. exercise.
1. Studies suggest that morning fitness can help you better manage cravings. Waking up early and starting your day on a healthy note is linked to decreasing your intake of carb-loaded, fatty foods later in the afternoon. If you've already burned some calories, why ruin your progress with fried chicken and french fries? Because sunrise runs make your body feel naturally cleansed before heading to work, you'll consequentially crave healthier foods.
2. It frees up your afternoon. You no longer have to bail on dinner plans or feel guilty about lacking a social life! (Then again, if you're a fitness fanatic and don't care too much about bubbling sociality, rising early allows you the chance to do more two-a-days. Jump start your fitness routine in the a.m. and maximize your afternoon with a second workout later on.)
3. Waking up with a clear head allows a faster pace and a meditative state. Without distractions or stress, you're able to get in a better workout, both physically and mentally!
4. Morning workouts kickstart your metabolism. Even after a workout, you burn calories—and at a quicker rate than you would have sans-exercise. Early-risers reap the benefits of elevated metabolism throughout the entire day. Additionally, your metabolism rises while sleeping, meaning that as soon as you wake up, energy is already available for use. Your brain might tell you otherwise, but the body is ready to go!
5. Research shows that workouts lead to better memory recall and all-around brain functioning. In fact, running is brainpower; it charges the brain like a battery, strengthening mental acuity for up to ten hours post-workout! This means, the earlier you run, the earlier you kick your brain into gear! Want to have a successful work day? Running beforehand is a good start.
6. It may seem ironic that running at a time that you feel low on energy actually gives you energy. But, it's true! Are you a coffee addict? By starting your day off with a run, you might be able to give up caffeine! Whenever you workout, you're pumping adrenaline and boosting energy, waking up the natural way.
7. Early workouts lead to better sleep at night. Studies show that those who regularly exercise in the morning get better sleep than those who exercise at night. Why? Read #5. Because exercise stimulates your body, when you exercise at night, it's much harder fully relax into a deep sleep. If exercise truly helps energize you, why not run in the morning to stay alert throughout the day and leave your afternoon open for leisure?
8. In the summertime, early runs allow you to beat the heat and humidity. Depending on where you live, time of day can drastically impact your ability to run during summer months. Around noon—when the sun is at its peak—can cause dizziness, shortness of breath, and inescapable fatigue. By running in the morning, you can experience cooler temperatures, optimal for running.
9. A lot of people claim that they simply "aren't a morning person". But it's possible to make yourself a morning person. Your body quickly adapts to a regimented schedule, meaning that if it knows you're going to work out early, it can physically prepare for exercise several hours before you even open your eyes. By mixing up the time of day that you workout, you unknowingly throw off your body's ability to fully function; whereas if your body knows when to expect exercise, hormones can begin preparing blood pressure, heart rate and blood flow ahead of time.
10. If all of those reasons aren't enough...SUNRISE. There's something invigorating about being present during the evolution of night to day. We are constantly bombarded by all of the bad things happening in our world, but witnessing a gorgeous sunrise can help put things into perspective. Set your alarm clock, get out and watch the sun make its journey to the horizon!
Join us on Tuesday mornings at 6 a.m. for Wake Up and Run to see for yourself!
By Olivia Harlow