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Is 5 am The Best Time To Exercise?

You are not alone in wondering what is the best time to work out? Hitting the gym early in the morning can level up your fitness game and help you set the tone for a healthier day. Here are some benefits of exercising early in the morning.

By Sadhana Kumari
25 Aug 2022

Many gym-goers or even beginners ask a common question— when is the right time to workout? Is it better to workout in the morning or at night? To be honest, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to these questions. Their fitness trainers suggest the ideal time depending upon their schedule, lifestyle and body. Everyone is different, so is their needs and time. Some are comfortable working out in the evenings or nights, while some others are morning people who like to wake up along with or before the sun and hit the gym or go on a run. But, according to a 2020 research study published in the paper Exercise And Sport Science Reviews, consistent morning exercises may be beneficial for people with obesity.

 

We spoke to Suresh Srinivasan, a Certified Marathon Trainer ACSM, Run for Resilience Coach and asked when is the best time to exercise. Srinivasan says, although when to exercise is the matter of choice or more of convenience to be exact. However, one cannot ignore the fact that working out in the morning does possess several potential benefits. If you find it difficult to follow a morning routine, then knowing the perks of exercising in the morning will change the mindset and make things easier for you.

 

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Benefits of Working Out In The Morning

1. You escape the heat

Choosing to exercise early in the morning around 5 am or 6 am is best as the environment is usually cooler and comfortable. The hottest part of the day begins around 8 am during summers and around 10 am in the winters. Thus,” early morning is the right pick to beat the heat, especially if you prefer to run or work out outdoors,'' suggests Srinivasan.

 

Related story: How To Exercise When It's Hot Outside

 

2. You have more energy

The Journal of Physiology, 2019 finds that working out in the early morning increases alertness as the level of cortisol, the stress hormone, is at its lowest. The study says stress hormones increase after 8 am and dip again in the evening. Since the cortisol level is lesser in the morning, one might stay awake and mentally sharp the whole day.

 

3. You make healthier choices about food

In a 2018 study cited in the International Journal of Obesity, dietary patterns of 2680 young adults were analysed in a 15-week program and it was observed that morning exercises for 30 minutes decreased frequent snacking and chose a healthier food intake.

 

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4. You have sharper focus

A 2019 study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine shows that morning training is beneficial for improving focus, energy, concentration and attention throughout the day. Moreover, Srinivasan points out that a morning workout is beneficial as the body gets better oxygen delivery and positive neuron pathways get activated, which keeps you more focused and awake.

 

5. You sleep better and longer

Exercising bouts in the morning can reset the molecular circadian clock (mental, physical, behavioural changes that flows throughout the day) in the body and circadian rhythm is affected by the melatonin level controlled by light exposure. Working out in the morning exposes your body to sunlight which has an important role in determining sleep time and consistent disturbing sleep patterns, as mentioned in Scientific Reports, 2020.

 

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6. You have better control over blood sugar

Working out in the morning lowers the level of catecholamines (neurotransmitters) and makes your body use insulin more effectively. Thus, evoking a drop in blood pressure, says Frontiers in Physiology, 2022.

 

7. Your immunity improves

Another great reason to workout in the morning is that it may help to cut off the risk of cancer. According to a 2020 report in the International Journal of Cancer, researchers studied a subset of participants and found that morning exercise (between 8:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m) reduced the odds of getting breast cancer by 25 per cent and prostate cancer by 27 per cent.

 

Related story: Healthy Ways To Strengthen Your Immune System

 

8. You burn more fat

If you are looking for a way to lose weight, then you should consider opting for a morning routine. As per a 2015 study mentioned in the paper eBioMedicine, men who exercise 30 minutes in the morning before breakfast were reported to lose fat more quickly.

 

9. Your mood improves

Morning exercise is a great way to start the day on a positive note and it leaves you with a sense of accomplishment. Srinivasan says, exercising early in the morning makes your brain produce more endorphins and other happy hormones.

 

Related story: 5 Healthy Snack Ideas That Improve Your Mood

 

10. You have smoother digestion

Exercise plays a crucial role to help your body utilise nutrient-rich food.

 

What Should You Eat Before Working Out In The Morning?

To ensure you have an effective workout or run, you need to power up your body to stabilise your blood sugar before exercise. Before morning exercise, eat a mini-meal rich in carbohydrates and protein such as:

 

 

These nutrients will provide energy throughout your exercise. And, don’t forget to drink water before, during, and after your workout.

 

Tips To Start Working Out In The Morning

It is okay if you find it difficult to wake up in the morning for physical training, if you are compensating for exercise in the evenings. Exercising shows results only when done consistently. However, to start working out in the morning, try following routine:

 

  • Sleep early: Aim to sleep at 10 pm so that you can have a good long time of around 7-8 hours of rest before waking up early.
  • Adjust your workout time gradually: It is not necessary to jump directly into a 5 a.m. workout. You can always choose to start a bit later like 7 am and then gradually shift your time to early hours like 6 or 5:30 am.
  • Prepare your workout routine in advance: Before going to bed, set out your gym clothes, sneakers, and an energising pre-workout mini-meal.
  • Start with exercise you enjoy: Try a light workout such as a long walk, yoga or a jog. When you truly enjoy a workout, it’ll be easier to get out of bed.

 

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FAQ

Q: Is it better to exercise in the morning or at night?

A: Working out in the morning may be suitable for some as you get enough time to train your body before the day’s responsibilities get in the way. In the evening, people may be drained of their energy due to exhaustion. Moreover, exercising too close to your bedtime may disrupt sleep.

 

Q: How to wake up early to work out?

A: To start the morning routine, try to adjust your sleep time early and prepare your workout gear and breakfast in advance. In this way, you will get more time to start your workout easily.

 

Q: What to eat before morning exercise?

A: Before morning exercise, eat a mini-meal rich in carbs and protein such as:

  • Banana, bread, and peanut butter
  • Oatmeal with almond milk
  • Stir-fried vegetables with whole-grain bread
  • Greek yoghourt with fruits or berries

 

 

 

 

 

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