Following a recent conversation with a friend, it occurred to me that I am a much better person when I've exercised in the morning. Like...seriously. Waaaaaaay better.
During our conversation, I started describing myself on days when I've exercised in the morning: positive, proactive, resilient, productive, cheerful, grateful and calm.
Then (yikes), I reflected on who I am when I do not start my day with some form of movement: sluggish, anxious, self-doubtful, negative and seriously impacted by I'll-be-good-enough-when-I-look-like-an-Instagram-model syndrome.
It wasn't long before I started to think to myself, why on earth do I not start every single day with some form of exercise?!
No, really. Why don't I?!
Why don't we?!
So, without further ado, please receive the following information as a reason why, if you are fortunate enough to have good health and a schedule that allows, there is literally no reason not to start the day with a bit of movement!
1. You're more likely to exercise if you do it in the morningFewer distractions = fewer chances of missing a workout! Before you've checked emails, texts and other messages, it's fair to say your mind is a little less cluttered than it is after the work and school day. There are always a million other things to do, emails to answer, Insta stories to watch, etc. Exercising before all of these things begin clutter your mind makes you much more likely to get it done!
2. Starting the day with exercise increases likelihood of making healthy food choicesAccording to a 2018 study conducted by students from the University of Texas, Michigan State University and the University of Alabama, 2,680 college students completed a 15-week exercise program. Each week involved three 30-minute sessions of cardio. These students were not asked to change their eating patterns, yet those who exercised consistently made dramatically healthier food choices regardless.
Conclusion: exercise in the morning = healthier choices throughout the day!
3. Increased focusA study published by the British Journal of Sports Medicine in 2019 found that morning exercise improves attention, visual learning and decision-making.
In the study, participants completed a 30 minute walk on a treadmill to start an 8-hour seated working day, adding short 3-minute walk breaks throughout the day on certain days.
The days that began with a 30-minute walk corresponded with increased cognitive function which was further improved by brief walking breaks throughout the day.
4. Improved moodDuring exercise, the brain produces more endorphins (AKA the feel-good hormone)! If you've heard of the "runner's high," endorphins are the reason behind it. You don't need to run to feel it; just get moving!
5. Healthier blood pressure levels
According to a study published in Vascular Health and Risk Management in 2014, those who exercise in the morning showed the most significant improvement in blood pressure levels.
Although all participants who exercised experienced healthier blood pressure levels, those who exercised in the morning showed the most favourable results.
6. Improved sleep
The same study published in Vascular Health and Risk Management found that participants who exercised at 7 A.M. spent more time in deep sleep, produced more melatonin, experienced fewer in-sleep awakenings, and took less time to fall asleep.
For those of us who are fortunate enough to live in bodies and have schedules that are capable of a morning walk, run, yoga session, gym session, fitness class, etc., why not start the day with a little movement?
Too busy in the morning? Take a look at your schedule -- if there's a gap in your daily schedule, why not fill it with a little mindful movement?