The Numerous Benefits of Starting Your Day with Exercise

Benefits of Starting Your Day with Exercise

Waking up early to squeeze in a morning workout before tackling the day’s tasks and responsibilities takes motivation and dedication.

However, the physical and mental benefits of exercising first thing in the morning make it a worthwhile habit to cultivate.

When you prioritize exercise in the morning, you set a healthy tone for the rest of your day. An invigorating sweat session helps boost energy, mood, and focus so you can power through your to-do list, feeling productive and accomplished.

Additionally, getting your workout finished early eliminates the risk of afternoon or evening excuses getting in the way and derailing your fitness goals. Committing to a consistent morning routine makes it easier to stick to a regular exercise schedule.

If you need convincing to set your alarm clock a little earlier, keep reading to learn the seven science-backed benefits of starting your day with exercise.

1. Improves Sleep Quality

While it may seem counterintuitive to cut back on sleep to make time for early morning workouts, research shows that consistent exercise—even as little as 10 minutes a day—can help you fall asleep faster at night and sleep more soundly.

Exercising first thing in the morning helps regulate your circadian rhythm so your body naturally feels sleepier come bedtime. You’re also less likely to experience sleep disturbances.

Additionally, morning workouts can help reduce stress and anxiety symptoms that commonly disrupt sleep patterns. By releasing feel-good endorphins, exercise boosts mood for superior daytime energy and more restful sleep.

Enhances Focus and Productivity That rush of endorphins from your morning sweat session doesn’t just improve sleep; it also enhances focus and mental clarity for better overall productivity throughout the day.

Studies demonstrate that consistent exercise helps stimulate brain activity in the prefrontal cortex responsible for concentration, attention span, motivation, and impulse control. Without regular physical activity, these cognitive skills decline.

Incorporating a short cardio, strength training, or high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workout into your morning regimen will help sharpen your focus and prime your mind for hours of clear-headed work.

man running in the morning

2. Suppresses Appetite

Exercising first thing in the morning—especially before eating breakfast—could help curb cravings and hunger later in the day. Thus making it easier to avoid impulsive snacking or oversized portions at lunch and dinner.

Research published by Brigham Young University found that 45 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity in the morning resulted in reduced appetite and decreased calorie consumption in overweight women.

While scientists need to further explore morning exercise’s effects on long-term weight management, initial study findings suggest it’s a simple habit that supports appetite control and healthy eating patterns.

Boosts Metabolism, Speaking of weight management and healthy eating, powering through an early bird workout can also rev up your metabolism so your body burns calories more efficiently throughout the day—even hours after you’ve hit the shower.

Unlike nutritionists previously believed, scientists now recognize the impact exercise has on our “afterburn.” This refers to the body’s elevated energy expenditure after a workout as tissue repairs, cellular functions are restored, and oxygen and heart rates return to baseline levels.

While everybody and workout is different—and afterburn effects do become negligible over time—research shows the increase in metabolic rate can persist for up to 38 hours post-exercise. Talk about return on investment!

When it comes to maximizing afterburn, high-intensity interval training workouts or heavy strength training tend to be most effective. However, don’t discount the value of lower intensity, longer duration activity too.

3. Promotes Consistency

For many people, the most challenging aspect of implementing a new exercise routine isn’t just the physical exertion; it’s simply making time for workouts in a busy schedule and battling fluctuating motivation levels.

Yet when you exercise first thing in the morning, you reduce the likelihood of interruptions getting in the way. You also tend to experience fewer spur-of-the-moment decision changes compared to after you have already started your workday.

By committing to a consistent morning workout schedule, you automatically build physical activity into your daily habits without having to actively carve out time later when energy falters. It becomes ingrained in your morning ritual—just like breakfast or your commute.

While occasional rest days and flexibility are still important, an early wake-up call makes it easier to prioritize exercise most days which is vital for achieving fitness goals.

athlete morning exercises

4. Lowers Blood Pressure

If you deal with hypertension, incorporating morning workouts into your routine could help lower and better control blood pressure numbers.

Research published by Appalachian State University suggests both aerobic and resistance training in the morning enables significantly greater blood pressure reductions compared to working out later in the afternoon or evening.

Study participants saw an average systolic blood pressure decrease of 25 mmHg after three months of monitored morning exercise. That’s equivalent to the reduction total cholesterol patients experienced from taking statin medication in a year-long trial!

Scientists believe morning exercise’s effects on blood pressure have to do with body temperature and circadian rhythms which influence heart rate and artery function. Regardless of the science behind the results, the positive effects are undeniable.

5. Decreases Stress and Anxiety

After waking up to annoying alarm clocks, mounting emails, traffic jams or public transportation delays, and other inevitable morning stressors, exercise might be the last thing on your mind. Yet it’s one of the most effective pre-emptive ways to manage daily anxiety.

Regular exercise—especially first thing in the morning—stimulates neurotransmitter activity in the brain responsible for mood regulation. Simply put, it boosts production of feel-good chemicals like serotonin and dopamine while limiting stress hormone excretion.

The result? You start the day feeling calmer, more relaxed, and emotionally equipped to handle whatever comes your way. Rather than anxiously playing catchup all morning, you’re proactive and in control.

Research even shows consistent morning workouts can help mitigate anticipatory anxiety and ruminating thoughts. Talk about a necessary coping mechanism to channel nervous energy when big presentations, events, or decisions loom.

The Takeaway

While hauling yourself out of bed at the crack of dawn can be painful, it’s clear the multitude of mental and physical perks from early morning exercise make it a habit worth adopting.

From enhanced sleep and productivity to improved long-term health markers, there’s little drawback to prioritizing just 20 or 30 minutes for yourself first thing in the morning.

Remember, there’s no one-size-fits all magic formula or training plan guaranteed to deliver results. Focus on consistency in whatever capacity you can manage morning after morning.

Mix up cardio, strength work, flexibility training, or even basic activities like walking the dog or doing bodyweight circuits next to your bed.

The key is preventing interrupted sleep patterns by slowly easing into wakefulness. Within a matter of weeks, early morning workouts will transform from a daunting obligation to a rewarding ritual.