It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of morning workouts. (Almost) every day, I wake up and cycle, lift weights, or do a circuit-training or HIIT workout for about 30 minutes. A morning workout is a staple part of my daily routine, and I recommend that all of my patients try their best to establish this healthy habit.
“But why the mornings?” is often the response I get from those same patients. At first, morning workouts can be a tough adjustment — and even get a bad rap for being crazy or only for the fitness-obsessed — but the truth is, we can all benefit from moving our workouts to the beginning of our daily to-do list.
Here’s why morning workouts are the absolute best:
1. They help you eat healthier throughout the day
Exercise is great for supporting healthy blood sugar balance, which means more energy, less “hangryness,” and fewer cravings for sweets. When you work out in the morning, it sets you up for healthier choices for the whole day. For example, a study published in Medical Science of Sports Exercise (1) showed that when women walked briskly for 45 minutes in the morning, they had more of a controlled response to tasty photos of unhealthy food.
2. They help you sleep better
Exercise increases your heart rate and releases adrenaline and cortisol into your body, which means it could interfere with your sleep if you try to work out in the evening. Plus, studies show (2) that working out in the morning is, in fact, more beneficial for sleep than working out in the afternoon or evening. Additional research has even (3) shown that working out at 7 a.m. can shift your circadian rhythm so that you feel on top of your game in the mornings and then get sleepy earlier, which sets you up for an early night and another morning workout the next day. Win-win!