The snooze button. A friend to some, a foe to many, yet dangerous to us all. Because some of us become so attached to the little guy, our lie-ins get longer and longer. At best, it means we’re a little groggy when we do roll out of bed and into the shower. At worst, we end up sleeping in totally and receiving another earful from the boss when we show up 2 hours late for work!
Getting up early helps you to face the day feeling more awake and alert. Even more so if you can get up early enough to exercise. Because whether it’s a refreshing dip, a heart-pounding run, or a grounding yoga class, exercise (almost!) matches breakfast as the best way to start your day.
4 Benefits of Early Morning Exercise
#1. It gets the blood flowing
One of the reasons why we feel fatigued, or achey, or overly chilly in the mornings is because our circulation isn’t at its peak. When we get up early to exercise, however, we get our heart pumping, get that blood flowing, and wake up our body and minds as a result.
With a few simple exercises, even over the course of 10 to 15 minutes, you can boost your circulation and change the course of your mood and energy for the coming day. Just make sure to include a decent cooldown after; otherwise you run the risk of facing the world a little more hot-headed than you’d like!
As an added bonus, an early morning strenuous exercise routine may also help you boost your platelet count. Just be sure to get the green light from your doctor before proceeding. Platelet counts have been shown to decrease with moderate exercise, so the key here is your session will need some intensity. That said, your doctor may prescribe specific exercises for your unique case or advise something different altogether, so again, be sure to speak with them.
#2. It helps you feel good – inside and out
Staying fit keeps the immune system strong, so any exercise means you’re better protected against viruses and infections. When you exercise in the morning, you stretch out your body for the day ahead, getting rid of any aches or pains you may have picked up in the night. (Which of course, can be reduced if you sleep on something a little more comfortable in the first place).
But most of all, early-morning exercise gives you a clearer, calmer mind. The sweet rush of energy, adrenaline and endorphins make you feel refreshed and revitalised – even when an hour previous you were a curled in a ball of lethargy. It might be hard to get up early for a workout, especially if it’s cold and dark out and your cosy bed is so inviting… but get yourself up and out and you won’t regret it!
#3. It boosts productivity for the rest of the day
Ever heard the saying “productivity feeds productivity”? No? Well, maybe I made it up… but still, it’s true! You know what it’s like. You can’t study for that exam or prepare for that big sales pitch without first having a tidy bedroom or desk. Once you do a bit of cleaning, the next task just comes more easily (unless you’re simply procrastinating, that is!)
The thing is, when you get that exercise session in early, you’re likely to feel more motivated throughout the day. You’ll send those emails quicker, you’ll have more winning ideas during the big client meeting, you’ll arrange to meet that friend you’ve been neglecting for ages and you’ll whip up a dinner to delight the family after a week of ready-meals. In short, you’ll be more productive across all aspects of your day – in your work, your relationships, and your health.
#4. It helps you sleep better at night
It might feel like it’s a separate thing but really, it isn’t; exercising early in the morning helps your sleep that night. Why? Well, because exercise is one of the key factors to consider when improving your sleep cycle, along with diet and getting to bed early. And if you get that workout in early (instead of putting it off all day, and then lacking the energy to see it through), you’re ensuring that you do exercise and that you do feel its benefits.
You’ll stretch your body out early on. Then when combined with a busy day at work and family commitments (which’ll be easier to face thanks to the energy boost of an early-morning workout) you’ll tire it out that much further. So when it comes to laying down your head, both your body and mind will be in a better place for sleep. Yay!
Time to become an early bird
It’s never too late to turn into a morning person. Start by setting a bedtime that’s half an hour earlier than usual (which can turn into an hour earlier once you get used to it). Rise half an hour (then an hour) earlier the following morning, and dedicate this time to some form of exercise.
Soon you’ll notice how much more awake you feel in the mornings, and how much more energy you have to face your day.
So be that early bird and catch that worm every morning. You won’t regret it.
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