I’ve become so accustomed to exercising early in the morning, that it feels awkward running or working out during any other part of the day. And when I say early, I’m talking 4 to 5 am in the morning. Whenever I do find myself having to squeeze a workout later in the day, I quickly realize why I prefer the early morning sessions. Here’s my top 10 reasons why I workout first thing in the morning after rolling out of bed.
1. Great Start to the Day – I remember the old U.S. Army recruiting commercial where they said “In the Army, we do more before 9 am than most people do all day.” Getting a vigorous workout in before most people even wake up gets the positive energy flowing and prepares your for the rest of the morning, which is usually the most productive part of your day.
2. Serenity – I live in a large and busy city, but running the streets at 4 am in the morning, it is one of the most serene and peaceful places on earth. There are very few souls out there, other than my fellow hardcore runners, and you get to see the city in a way most people haven’t experienced. Also, during part of the year, I’m able to experience an awe-inspiring sunrise.
3. Clean Air – The mornings are usually when the air is the cleanest. Not having to breathe exhaust fumes makes for a much healthier run. Also, it is nice not having to stop so often due to vehicle traffic.
4. No Need for Sunscreen – With early morning runs, the sun is still down or just coming up. So skin damage is minimal when you run this time of day. This is also the coolest part of the day, which is the best time to run in the summer. Also, I find in my part of the world, when I run early, it rains less often in the mornings – I don’t like running in the rain.
5. Less Opportunity to Interrupt Planned Workouts – There are fewer interruptions that will throw off your planned workouts when you knock it out first thing in the morning. I found that when use to train later in the day, or after work, there were more unexpected disruptions (e.g., having to work overtime, family situation, being invited to some event, people visiting from out of town, etc.) or opportunities to make excuses (e.g., stressed out and tired from working all day, don’t feel motivated, want to watch a television show) to put off your workout for another day.
6. Burn More Calories – Bangor University in the United Kingdom discovered that a.m. exercisers workout harder than those who exercise at other times during the day. That translates to more calories burned.
7. Less Showers – I like to shower in the morning, and because I do my workouts first thing in the morning, I don’t have to take another shower later in the day after a workout.
8. Empty Fitness Center – On days I don’t run outside, I will go to the gym and jump on the spin bike, treadmill, elliptical or other aerobic training machines. My fitness center is open 24 hours, but there is usually nobody in there so early in the morning. That gives me free rein to all the exercise equipment without any interference or anyone questioning my methods. However, if I go in there after 7 am, it begins getting crowded.
9. No Fashion or Hygiene Concerns – Because it is so early in the morning, nobody is around. I don’t need to worry about my mismatched workout clothes or lopsided hairstyle.
10. Discipline – Working out so early in the morning takes discipline. I have to go to bed early, usually before 8 pm, to ensure I’m rested well enough for a good workout session the following morning. There are many mornings when it is cold and windy outside, and getting out of warm and comfortable bed is a battle. But continuing to force yourself to get up and at it develops the discipline necessary to apply to other aspects of your life. And I can honestly say that I’ve never regretted a workout after it was done.
Running early in the morning may mean that you’ll be running in the dark, so it is important that you be careful out there. Fortunately, I live in a city that has good street lighting, but you will still want to wear some light colored clothing and carry ID with you.
So, if you are not in the habit of running early, give it a try, you just may like it.