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6 Benefits of Running in the Morning
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6 Benefits of Running in the Morning

Isabel-Mayfield-health-reporter
Written by Isabel Mayfield | Medically reviewed by Medically reviewed by Rosmy Barrios, MD check
Published on October 20, 2022
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9 min

When it comes to running, there are different benefits you can get depending on what time of the day you choose to work out. In this article, we will be overviewing the different benefits that come with running in the morning.

benefits of running in the morning
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It seems that everyone has a different routine that works for them. Some people love starting their day with a run, while others seem to prefer an after-work sweat session.

The time of the day you decide to fit in your workout might depend on your schedule. But if you’re trying to decide if you want to start or end your day with a run, the following information about the benefits of running in the morning might help you do so.

Things like mental clarity, improved energy, and the feeling of accomplishment early in the day are all side effects of morning runs. Which is why we think you’ll love hearing more about the other benefits running early in the day can give you.

What Are the Benefits of Running in the Morning?

The health benefits of running in the morning are endless. For those of us who find it difficult to stay consistent with our workouts, getting it done first thing in the morning means we can’t make up an excuse to skip it later in the day.

The sense of satisfaction you carry through the rest of your day also makes running in the morning worth it. Knowing that one of the hardest parts of your day is already taken care of before your day even begins is better than a cup of coffee.

If consistency is something you struggle with, there are apps that can help. You don’t have to be much of a morning person if you already have a pre-planned workout ready for you to follow.

Having a pre-made, personalized running schedule for you can make all the difference in you actually getting out of bed and going for your morning jog.

It wakes you up

Getting your body moving first thing in the morning is one of the best ways to wake up. It boosts your mental focus by improving blood flow to the brain and can help you feel more alert because your mind has something to focus on.

As mentioned earlier, it also gives you a great sense of accomplishment to carry through the day.

More energy for a day

Although this point may seem counterintuitive, exercising early on in your day can actually improve your energy levels for the rest of it.

When you exercise, you kickstart the production of mitochondria inside your muscle cells. They create fuel from the glucose in your body – which generally comes from the breakdown of carbohydrates – as well as oxygen from the air you breathe.

Both of these factors increase the energy supply for the rest of your body.

As you run, you might feel more tired momentarily, but chances are afterward a short rest and a good meal, you will finally get to experience a “runner’s high.” This is a feel-good state that is brought on by the production of happy hormones that are released in the body when you run, like dopamine.

Working out any time of the day can also help with decreasing your stress levels and preparing the body for better sleep. A good night’s rest will naturally prepare you with more energy to use throughout your day. Which leads us to our next point.

Improves sleep quality

Whether you’re struggling with insomnia or just can’t sleep to wind down for a good night’s rest, running could help.

The feel-good hormones that are released when you run, as well as improved blood circulation to the part of the brain responsible for stress management and mood regulation, can help relieve stress and improve your mental health.

This means that if you often find yourself lying awake at night ruminating in worry and anxiety, running could help alleviate these thoughts, helping you fall asleep faster.

Serotonin also helps realign the body’s internal clock, helping you feel tired at the end of the day and wake up in the morning feeling refreshed and ready for the day ahead.

Studies suggest that just 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise can make a difference in sleep quality, which means that by going for even a short morning run, you’ll be setting yourself up for a night of deep sleep.

Helps with weight loss

Running can also help you lose weight. It is one of the best exercises for burning calories, and, depending on your pace, can even burn stubborn belly fat. This is because it uses so many muscle groups at the same time.

When you run, especially outdoors or on uneven terrain, it involves all of the muscles in the lower body, as well as your core, to stabilize – even your arms get in on it as the energy exertion propels the body forward.

When you use your muscles, your body has to provide more energy for them to carry out movements. This means more calories burned.

When you do a fasted run, meaning you don’t eat beforehand, your body has fewer carbohydrates to burn for energy. This means it will instead switch to burning fat as an energy source. Because of this, running on an empty stomach is believed to burn more fat than when you have a meal beforehand.

Helps to stay consistent

As we mentioned at the beginning of this article, running in the morning is one of the best ways for you to stay consistent.

When you start your day with a run, you eliminate the possibility of being too tired or busy later on in the day to fit in a workout. After a long day, it’s easy to tell yourself that you are too tired or have too much on your plate to find time for exercise.

If you manage to get into the habit of going for a morning run even a few times a week, you will set yourself up for daytime success again and again.

Improves aerobic endurance

Aerobic means “with oxygen.” Basically, aerobic exercise refers to a state when your muscles have all the oxygen they need to fuel your movements.

When your output is too high and you are not able to breathe in enough oxygen to fuel your muscles, you switch into an anaerobic state, and the body produces lactic acid as a result.

Aerobic exercise, like running at a moderate-intensity but sustainable pace, can help improve your cardiovascular health and lower your blood pressure.

As you increase your aerobic running endurance, your body will get better at supplying enough oxygen for you to sustain higher levels of output for a longer time without having to switch to an anaerobic state.

Although running any time of the day will improve your aerobic endurance, running on an empty stomach is thought to increase aerobic endurance more quickly. This is due to a lack of glucose as an energy source.

What Are the Drawbacks of Running in the Morning?

Although there are plenty of health benefits associated with running in the morning, there are also a few drawbacks. Keeping these limitations in mind can help you prepare yourself for the challenges you might experience when trying to start a consistent morning exercise routine.

It is hard to create a new habit

Chances are, when your alarm clock goes off an hour earlier than it should, you will be tempted to hit the snooze button and go back to sleep.

Humans are creatures of habit. We generally don’t like to change up our routines, especially when these changes are uncomfortable.

Routines are different from habits in that habits are things we naturally do without much effort or thought. An example of a habit could be brushing your teeth before bed or having a cup of coffee in the morning.

Even if we’re tired at the end of the day, we won’t hit the hay without first brushing our teeth. This is because it’s something we’re used to doing and involves minimal effort.

Routines, on the other hand, are generally the tasks that eventually turn into habits. They are often a lot more uncomfortable to create, and the beginning stages of getting into a new routine will take some effort.

Although it will probably take you some time to get used to, creating new, healthy habits is always worth it in the long run. As tempted as you might be to skip your early morning run, remember all the benefits that come from morning workouts and force yourself to get up and put on your running shoes. Your body and mind will thank you.

It might be harder to run

Aside from having to force yourself out of bed in the wee hours of the morning, running early in the day is also harder from a physical standpoint.

When you first wake up, your joints are stiff, your muscles are cold, and your blood sugars are low. Although fasted workouts are good for fat loss, convincing yourself to work out when you’re feeling hungry might not be the easiest thing.

Afternoon or evening workouts are easier in the sense that your body has already been moving all day. Your muscles are loose and limber, and your joints are well-lubricated. If you decide to run in the morning, it’s important to keep these physical differences in mind.

This doesn’t mean you can’t prepare your body to still have a killer workout; it just means that you will need to be more intentional about getting your muscles ready.

Doing a short jog before stopping to stretch is a good way to prepare your muscles. A short jog will start by getting your muscles warm, and a stretch will help elongate your muscle fibers. This helps loosen up your tense muscles and find proper running form.

FAQs

What is the best time to go for a run?

Evidence points to morning runs having the most mental and physical benefits. However, the best time of the day for anyone to run will depend on individual lifestyle preferences.

Should I eat before a morning run?

If you are going for a light run in the morning, you can get away with doing a fasted workout or eating something light, like yogurt. For longer, more strenuous activity, it is recommended that you eat a proper breakfast 1–2 hours before your workout.

How many miles is it recommended to run daily?

In the beginning, mileage shouldn’t be the main focus when deciding on running distance. Instead, finding a pace you can comfortably maintain for 20–30 minutes will be more beneficial.

A Word From Our Coach

There is no doubt that going for a morning run has a laundry list of benefits. Beginning your day with exercise could be helpful in being more productive, which will be appealing to a lot of people.

In the beginning, be sure to start slow. Even waking up 30 minutes earlier to run a quick mile can set you up for more success in your day. As your body adjusts to your new routine and begins growing in strength, you can start getting up earlier and running farther.

If your new morning exercise routine causes you more harm than good, it could be mornings that aren’t the time for you to work out.

Stick with it for at least a month, and after that, it might be a good idea for you to switch up the time to find something that feels better for you.

As always, feeling good should be your main priority, and it’s worth switching things up until you find something that makes you feel your best.

Bottom Line

Running in the morning boasts a lot of health benefits, including improved mental cognition, better energy levels, and a night of more restful sleep.

By continuing to show up for your workouts consistently, you can improve your cardiovascular health and lose extra weight – if that is a goal of yours. Either way, the benefits of morning workouts are something that can greatly improve many aspects of your everyday life.

Creating a new habit isn’t always easy, but in the end, it is always worth it!

Isabel-Mayfield-health-reporter
Written by
Isabel Mayfield is a certified yoga instructor with over 10 years of experience in the fitness industry. She is passionate about self-improvement and loves to help people improve their sense of self-worth through education and support in meeting their fitness goals.
Medically reviewed by Rosmy Barrios, MD
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