I encourage all of my patients to exercise for many obvious reasons. But when we get down to it, exercise in the morning is so much better than evening exercise! I know your schedule won’t always allow for it and pm exercise is better than none at all. But let me see if I can sell you on setting that alarm just a little earlier so that you can get the best result for all your hard work.
#1 Get er done!
You’re more likely to do it if exercise is the first thing on the agenda. The later in the day you schedule your exercise the longer you have to find excuses to skip it. By exercising first thing in the morning, you are much less likely to flake out on your work outs.
#2 Increase energy
Exercise increases cortisol! Cortisol is the awakening hormone that provides energy throughout the day. By exercising in the am you are increasing your natural secretion of this energy producing hormone when it is meant to be at its highest. This will help am energy and motivation as well as prevent afternoon dips in energy that can drive you to bad food or beverage choices.
#3 Better sleep
We’re still talking about cortisol! So now that you know exercise helps your body secrete cortisol, you should also know that cortisol inhibits the production of melatonin. Many people who exercise at night spike cortisol at the wrong time, which will block the production of melatonin and leave them with a restless night sleep.
#4 Build more muscle
Testosterone levels also tend to be elevated in the morning. This means you are more likely to get those gains out of your effort when testosterone is on board.
#5 Make better food choices
Research shows that when you start your day with exercise you are more likely to eat healthier and be more active the rest of the day. Something about setting your body up with health encourages you to continue on that path.
#6 Decrease stress and anxiety
It is true that exercise improves secretion of neurotransmitters that help to decrease the experience of stress and anxiety. You could argue that exercise would be beneficial for this purpose at any time of day. But as a Naturopath I always think about prevention. If you are secreting these chillaxing neurotransmitters first thing in the morning you are less likely to experience high levels of stress and anxiety at all.
#7 Lower blood pressure
A 2014 research study found that after monitoring participants exercise at 7am, 1pm and 7pm the participants that exercised at 7 am had a much greater reduction in their blood pressure than did the other 2 groups.
Exercise in the morning, afternoon or night, just get off your butt and move! But if you are really serious about your health, you might as well get more bang for your buck and workout first thing!
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