Although exercise is profoundly beneficial no matter what time of day you choose to do it, morning exercise rules!
- It begins the day on a positive “healthy” note that can set the tone for the rest of the day.
- It provides an opportunity to tackle and complete an activity critical to your health that allows you to begin the day with an immediate sense of accomplishment and empowerment.
- It increases the chances that you will choose a healthier breakfast (like the two recipes below). After all, who wants to negate the benefits of a morning exercise routine by following it up with a doughnut or pastry?
- It provides an immediate boost in mood and cheerfulness that studies show can last up to 12 hours. (Stand outside the doorway of a gym and watch all the smiling faces of the people exiting the building.)
- It primes the brain for learning and enhances focus in the first 1 to 2 hours after exercise. (Always plan your most cognitively challenging daily activities in the period just after exercise.)
- It enhances your sleep. Studies show that regular morning exercise improves sleep patterns. In contrast, late afternoon and evening exercise can interfere with sleep onset.
- Because there are significantly less “competing” events or activities in the earliest parts of the day, morning exercise is easier to build in as a consistent, daily habit. Studies show that early morning exercisers have the best long-term success in maintaining fitness.
- It provides a transient increase (up to 5 hours) in metabolic rate that can help you burn off some breakfast and lunch calories.
Speaking of breakfast, here are two of my favorite recipes to start the day.
Dr. Ann Kulze is founder and CEO of Just Wellness and has a knack for breaking down the science of healthy eating and living into simple and easily digestible messages. She has been featured on “Dr. Oz,” “Oprah and Friends,” WebMD and U.S. News & World Report. Alabama NewsCenter is publishing advice from Dr. Ann.