Looking for a way to kickstart your day? Skip the cup of coffee and go for a run instead.
While the thought of a morning run sounds torturous to some people, running in the early hours of the day gives you an energy boost that lasts far beyond a caffeine rush. Here are six reasons to stop hitting snooze and lace up your sneakers:
- Running helps you manage stress and anxiety throughout the day.
Studies show exercising in the morning sets a positive tone for the rest of the day. After your morning run, mood-enhancing chemicals, such serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, are released throughout the body – and last for several hours! Now you know the reason why people call it “the runner’s high.”
- Connecting to nature is good for the mind, body and soul.
While the gym has its perks, nothing beats the feeling of working out with the sun on your face, wind in your hair and being surrounded by the great outdoors. Being outside improves your mental health, reduces inflammation, lowers blood pressure, and more.
- It supports weight loss and appetite control.
When it comes to losing weight, early morning workouts are the way to go, according to a study published in EBioMedicine.
In the study, 10 young men exercised at different times of the day. Researchers measured their fat burn rate after each session and found fat burn was highest after exercising in the morning.
Running also plays a major role with appetite control. In one study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, women’s brain waves were measured while looking at flowers and food photos. In the first session, they looked at the photos after morning exercise and in the second session, they looked at the photos without morning exercise. Results showed their brain activity was stronger in response to the food photos when they didn’t workout in the morning.
- You’ll eat healthier.
In a recent study published in the International Journal of Obesity, researchers explored the effect of exercise on the eating patterns of college students. Participants were asked to complete a 15-week exercise program, which involved three 30-minute sessions of cardio each week.
The students weren’t asked to modify their food choices. However, the ones who did the program ultimately ate healthier compared to those who didn’t. This suggests working out early will encourage you to eat better throughout the day.
- You’re more likely to stick to your training routine.
When you run in the morning, there’s less chance of other things getting in the way. For example, after a long day at the office, sometimes all you want to do is take a nice, warm bath or watch Netflix from the comfort of your couch. Then, there are days when you want to go out with coworkers or friends after work. You can do any of these things guilt-free if you have a regular morning workout routine.
- You’ll be more productive at work.
Running is scientifically-proven to increase your focus. Acute aerobic exercise activates the prefrontal and occipital cortexes of the brain, which are tied to “executive control.” This includes memory, attention, and cognitive inhibition – all of which impact productivity.
There’s a great deal of truth behind the saying, “The early bird catches the worm,” and the same is true for a morning run; it sets you up for success in more ways than one.