Wake Up & Sweat! Why You Should Exercise in the Morning

How Dr. Johnson Starts His Day

Dr. Johnson typically starts his weekday mornings with some exercise before doing anything else. 

He wakes up a little earlier and gets in cardio or strength-training circuits for about 30 - 60 minutes. Then he gets ready for his day, has some breakfast, and heads off to work. 

Why does he wake up extra early so that he can exercise before work? See the five benefits of fasting morning exercise below. 

A Reminder of Why It Is Important to Exercise

Before we talk about the specific benefits of exercising in the morning, here are a few reminders of some of the benefits of normal exercise. 

Regular exercise, as summarized by WebMd, can

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- Reduce stress

- Improve sleep

- Boost self-esteem

- Keep away anxiety and feelings of depression

Exercising produces endorphins, which triggers a positive feeling in the body and is linked to more positive moods.

Another benefit of general exercise is that it makes you sweat! Although sweating may not be good during normal activities, it's actually beneficial to sweat during exercise. Sweating is an effective way to detox your body-- A study published by the journal Archives of Environmental and Contamination Toxicology found that many toxic elements found in the body were excreted through sweat. 

Benefits of Fasting Morning Exercise: Why You Should Exercise in the Morning (preferably on an empty stomach)

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These are benefits that have been found after studying fasted exercise. That means not eating food before working out. Fasting exercise works best in the morning-- It is ideal if you wake up somewhat early in your day and exercise soon after waking and before eating breakfast. 

1. More Effective Fat Burn

Waking up and exercising soon after on an empty stomach can burn as much as 20% more fat than when a meal is eaten before exercising. This was found by a 2013 study conducted by the British Journal of Nutrition.

Another study also revealed that fasting exercise improves fat oxidation in comparison to ingestion of carbohydrates prior to exercise. This study also found that the rate of fate oxidation differed depending on the duration and intensity of the exercise, with running and endurance training showing increased fat oxidation.

Fat oxidation is a process in which giant lipid molecules are broken back down into their smaller parts, triglycerides and fatty acids. Fat oxidation is important, as it is what allows our bodies to turn fat into energy rather than being stored.

2. Improved Glucose Tolerance and Prevention of Insulin Resistance

In a study published in the Journal of Physiology, participants who exercised fasting in the morning showed improved glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity and did not gain weight, in comparison to participants who ate carbohydrates before their workout. Because it can improve glucose tolerance, fasting morning exercise has the potential to help prevent Type 2 Diabetes as well as obesity. 

3. Decreased Blood Pressure

People who worked out in the morning reduced their blood pressure by 10 percent, a dip that continued all day and lowered even more ( to 25 percent) at night. This was found in a study conducted by Appalachian State University.

4. Potential Decrease in Overeating

A study from the journal of Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise found that women who exercised for 45 minutes in the morning were less responsive to images of food than those who did not exercise in the morning, and the women who exercised did not eat more than their counterparts. 

The takeaway from the study? The women that exercised in the morning were not as enticed by food, indicating better control over impulsive eating. 

5.  Higher Likelihood of Consistent Exercise

A study published by American Physiological Association found that the people who exercised frequently had developed what is called an instigation habit. The research suggests that developing a regular habit that triggers you to exercise is more effective than following a set routine. For example, an alarm clock waking you up in the morning could be your cue that it is time to exercise. 

*If you are someone who knows that you need to eat before physical activity, then fasted exercise may not be for you. However, exercise is beneficial to everyone, and there are many different ways to do it!