As a health professional, when I get this question, I’m inclined to say whatever time you’re most likely to actually get do it. However, new research reveals that working out early in the day may be additional benefits for weight loss, improved sleep and much more.
New research presented at the American College of Sports Medicine’s annual meeting found that subjects had better overall sleep and sleep quality when they exercised in the a.m, compared to exercising at 1 pm or 7 pm. What’s more, other research found a link between exposure to light in the morning is linked to lower body weight. Morning exercisers also are more consistent, as they are less likely to skip their workouts due to work or other issues that come up during the day.
If you’re currently not a morning exerciser, here are 7 ways to help you get in the habit of exercising earlier.
Seven Ways to Become An a.m. Exerciser
1. Organize all your workout clothes/gear at night. Make it as easy as possible to get your workout in by having everything ready to go.
2. Go to bed earlier. When you start working out early, you’ll naturally start wanting to go to bed earlier too. But when starting out, try going to bed 30 minutes earlier than normal so it’s easier to get up for your workout.
3. Enlist a friend. Call a friend to see if s/he will meet you. Those who have exercise companions are more likely to get their workouts in.
4. Do what you love. There are so many ways to become fit, you don’t have to do something you don’t like. Find something (anything!) that you like and do that. It’s also great to shake it up, and do different types of exercise so it never gets boring. For best results combine aerobic exercise with strength workouts (with either bodyweight exercises or weights).
5. Reward yourself. For each am that you exercise, give yourself a little reward like a nice nonfat latte. The best part of all my am workouts is the latte at the end! After a week of doing your morning exercise, splurge on a new exercise DVD or video.
6. Don’t have an all or nothing attitude. If you only have time for a half hour workout, when your routine is usually an hour, go for the half hour and give yourself a pat on the back. Try to make up during the day (take the stairs, take a brisk walk on a break. When I have early morning meetings, I not only shorten my workout routine, but try to increase the intensity. If I walk out of an vigorous group fitness class early, it’s all smiles, no guilt!
7. I never know when co-workers or friends are going to want to go out for a glass of wine after work. If I haven’t exercised in the morning, I have to go to the gym after work, so no wine (big whine!), no great time relaxing with friends. Although happy hour only happens maybe once a week, it’s in the back of my head on some of those “don’t want to do this” mornings, so I get up and go in order to keep my evening options open.