The idea of morning runs might be a nightmare if you aren’t an early bird. Naturally, you’d rather spend your morning lazing around, preparing a fulfilling breakfast, and then leave for work. Learning about the benefits of running in the morning may flip your perspective 360 degrees. Health and fitness experts strongly recommend people lace up in the morning and go for a run. This habit may be hard to develop and stick to, especially when you have to set the alarm for super early in the morning to finish the routine before work. This is one reason many people quit, and some don’t even adopt it in the first place. That said, this isn’t an impossible feat. Think about leading politicians and CEOs. People like Tim Cook and Oprah Winfrey are known to rise at the crack of dawn. You can also follow in their footsteps and get an early start to your day. Go for a run before you check in at work, and you may notice a significant improvement in your productivity. If you are still hesitant about modifying your current routine and running in the morning, keep reading this article. We have rounded up the benefits you get from this habit, followed by a discussion on ideal hours for running. Have a look!
What Are The Benefits Of Running In The Morning?
The following benefits of running early in the morning will inspire you to hit the tracks at a time when a majority of people are still snoozing in their beds.
Benefit # 1 – May Help To Improve Cardiovascular Health
Running is an excellent form of cardiovascular exercise to pump the heart. It helps lower cholesterol and blood pressure and strengthens the heart to improve blood circulation (1).
A study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology in 2014 established a solid connection between running and improved heart health. Runners who participated in the study were 45% less likely to die of heart-related problems than non-runners. Overall, runners lived three years longer than the non-runners in the study (2).
Some other benefits, like reduced weight and balanced sugar levels may also contribute to improved cardiovascular health.
Benefit # 2 – May Help To Manage Weight
Running is a versatile activity that can be tailored to your lifestyle and goals. Timing your daily runs and being steadfast in your routine are essential if you want to lose weight.
Some people prefer running early in the morning because the benefits of running on an empty stomach are widely quoted. These runs are great for burning fat because they are followed by 6 – 8 hours of overnight fasting. The body uses more fat as energy when the carbohydrate stores are low. As a result, there is a higher fat burn or oxidation.
Exercise before breakfast also tends to increase fat oxidation over the next 24 hours. (3).
Running early in the morning jumpstarts the metabolism, so the body keeps burning calories faster throughout the day. It also means that you will likely be starving after you finish the run, making you less likely to skip breakfast – a hearty meal of the day.
Benefit # 3 – Enhances Productivity For The Day
Exercise releases endorphins that leave you energetic and ready to start the day. This energy beats the boost you get from consuming multiple cups of coffee or energy drinks.
People will likely experience improved executive functions after two hours of exercise. Improved verbal fluency, problem-solving, decision-making, and inhibitory control will positively impact your performance (4). It also allows you to sustain your attention level when you feel lethargic (5).
In addition, studies have proven that combining a morning run with breakfast can help teenagers perform better academically (6).
Craving a healthy appetite is one of the notable benefits of running in the morning every day. Making sound decisions gets easier because you begin your day by making a smart choice – to get up and stay active!
The process of being physically active can impact dietary behavior. As you run in a serene environment, you get a clear perspective of things and decide to pay more attention to your health. People who run or work out in the morning may choose foods like fruits, vegetables, and lean meat. Meanwhile, their preference for sodas, fast food, and fried items decreases.
Benefit # 4 – Likely To Promote Adherence And Consistency
Some people hold on to their habits regardless of their daily humdrum. Others find reasons to procrastinate and skip their workout as the day progresses.
Those who start enjoying their early morning runs may stick to this routine, come rain or shine. A study published in Exercise and Sport Sciences Reviews revealed that a consistent morning routine might boost exercise adherence and weight loss among those with excess weight (7).
When you stay committed to your fitness goals and show up on track every morning, you discipline yourself. This self-discipline will go a long way as you develop resilience in other walks of life.
Benefit # 5 – Tends To Reduce Stress
Feeling happy and content with your life is a blessing. Running creates a positive impact on the runner’s mental health. You can consider these runs an investment in yourself as you experience feelings of achievement and self-worth.
A significant source of stress for many exercise enthusiasts is how to make time for a run. Fixing a morning run routine beats this stress and gives you more daily flexibility. It also clears your mind and removes the stress that slows you down during the day.
Studies have revealed that a vigorous morning run activates the occipital and prefrontal cortex. These parts of the brain are associated with executive control, allowing you to regulate your emotions and manage all tasks to achieve your goals. No wonder you feel like you can conquer the world after you finish your morning workout (10).
Running outdoors is particularly helpful. It fills your heart with optimism as you gaze at the beautiful sights of nature. The earlier you run, the more you can inhale the fresh air since there won’t be many people or cars around.
Benefit # 6 – May Improve The Sleep Quality
Improved sleep quality is also a great benefit of running early in the morning. In fact, you may experience a better quality of sleep compared to noon or evening runs.
Multiple studies prove that early morning may be the most beneficial time to do aerobic exercise. It is an effective sleeping technique for adults who face difficulty falling asleep (8).
Lack of routine is a barrier to good sleep. After a few days of getting up early in the morning, you will feel tired in the evening. This naturally forces you to hit the sack early and wake up early in the morning. A systematic review showed how exercise improves sleep quality and latency (the time it takes to go from being awake to sleep) (9).
Benefit # 7 – Controlled Temperature
Running during morning hours is generally cooler. This can be highly satisfying during the hot summer months. The temperature increases as the season progresses, making it challenging to run outdoors during noon or evening.
Running early in the morning will feel easier because of this. It also keeps you from getting heat-related illnesses like dehydration and high blood pressure.
Benefit # 8 – Free Up Your Evenings
When you run early in the morning, you save a considerable chunk of your evening hours. You can get back home after work and prepare yourself for a relaxed evening. It allows you to enjoy some me-time or hang out time with friends and family.
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What Time Is The Evening?
Running is one of the best things you can do for your body. Running has loads of benefits, from burning fat to reducing the risk of heart issues and improving your cognitive skills. But what is the best time to run?
For some people, running in the evening is more feasible as they are done with the day’s responsibilities and want to reboot their minds. They can casually stroll when tired without being afraid of getting late for work.
The hours between 6 – 9 p.m. are generally categorized as evening time.
What Are The Pros And Cons Of Running In The Evening?
Here are some perks you can reap when running during the evening:
You Can Clear Your Mind
After long hours at work, you are set to run and block everything in the surroundings. It helps you clear your mind from the problems and challenges of the day.
It Depletes Your Energy
Nothing is more satisfying for runners than ending their day with a relaxed run around the block. This gets them more tired, and they fall asleep easily.
Running in the evening also has some drawbacks. Some negative aspects of evening runs are listed as follows:
You May Fail To Manage Your Time
If you set your running routine for the evening, you deprive yourself of the benefits of running in the morning. Sometimes you may have after-work commitments that compel you to skip running or make them shorter. Managing tasks like groceries and household chores also get tricky when you choose to run during the evening.
You May Feel Exhausted During Evenings
You have already passed half of your day by the time evening arrives. This means you will feel tired and crave a restful evening on your couch. And so evening runs can be challenging to manage if your energy levels are already too low.
How To Start Running In The Morning?
Don’t you love all the health benefits of running in the morning? Now that you are convinced that you want to be a morning runner, you should create a strategy to rise early in the morning.
The tips listed below will help you to get pumped up for the morning runs.
- Encourage yourself with the benefits of running early in the morning. If you are trying to shed some weight, read more about the benefits of running on an empty stomach in the morning. You will automatically develop a regular routine when you fix a goal for yourself that you wish to achieve through these runs.
- Prepare for the run the night before. For instance, you should set your alarm clock, sleep early, and lay out your workout clothes.
- Grab a coffee after you wake up to get an energy buzz. Ensure that your running duration is short during the first few days until you feel comfortable with this routine.
It is essential to be steadfast during the initial days. Eventually, you will adjust to the new schedule and will be able to enjoy the benefits of running in the morning.
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The Bottom Line
Everybody is wired differently. If you find yourself at peace with the evening runs, there is no reason to tweak the routine. But those struggling to go for a regular evening run or developing healthy habits should consider running in the morning. The benefits of running in the morning is better than other hours because it is the time when there are fewer people and less pollution on the street.
Ensure that you stick to the routine that works for you to witness maximum rewards.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- Benefits of running for heart health (n.d., connectedcardiology.com.au)
- Running Reduces Risk of Death Regardless of Duration, Speed (2014, acc.org)
- Exercise Increases 24-h Fat Oxidation Only When It Is Performed Before Breakfast (2015, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- The Effects of Acute Exercise on Mood, Cognition, Neurophysiology, and Neurochemical Pathways: A Review (2017, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Exercise and caffeine improve sustained attention following fatigue independent of fitness status (2015, tandfonline.com)
- Breakfast and Exercise Improve Academic and Cognitive Performance in Adolescents (2021, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Consistent Morning Exercise May Be Beneficial For Individuals with Obesity (2021, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Effects of acute morning and evening exercise on subjective and objective sleep quality in older individuals with insomnia (2017, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Exercise and sleep: a systematic review of previous meta-analyses (2017, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Acute Aerobic Exercise Increases Cortical Activity during Working Memory: A Functional MRI Study in Female College Students (2014, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)