Is it weird that I am discussing the benefits of running in morning while being a midnight writer who sleeps till late? Well, are you, too finding ways to cope with busy work schedules and don’t know how to prioritize health?
If you have the privilege to reschedule your routine to wake up with the sun, you can bring many benefits to your body. If dawn is too hard for you, try waking up 1-2 hours later and hit the park.
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Why should you run early morning?
A lot of people looking to lose weight turn to running because it is one of the best forms of cardio. But what is the difference between running on a treadmill during the late eve and running in an open space early morning?
Morning sets the mood for the day. So, if your cardiovascular system is all hyped up at the start, you are ready for world domination. As per studies (1), running can decrease premature mortality by 25 to 40 percent. Running regularly can increase life expectancy by three years.
Running outdoors not only changes the sceneries aligned with the frequency of your speed but also lets you breathe afresh. It lets you soak in vitamin D from the early sun rays while birds chirp melodiously in the nearby trees.
You are not bound inside an artificially maneuvered temperature setting as you run on a loop on a treadmill. While the benefits for your body might remain the same, the calmness of your mind differs according to the environment.
Things to consider before running in morning
You can avail the benefits of running in the morning only when certain aspects align with your activity seamlessly. These include:
- ensuring the climatic conditions are favorable for your morning run
- understanding if your body can withstand intense cardio
- knowing your limits to feel relaxed instead of stressed
- having ample time to fit this into your routine
Benefits of running in morning
It is time to give you all the benefits of running daily in morning to take you one step closer to your fitness goals:
Sets the mood for the day
What you do right after you wake up from bed is the most crucial part of the day. Most people curl up, search for their phones, and start scrolling Instagram reels. Some of us also lie in bed while going through our notifications for several minutes until we’re late for work.
If you replace your morning routine with intense cardio from running, you will boost your health mentally and physically.
An early morning run will pace our adrenaline and shoot up endorphins immediately. It will give you the ‘runner’s high’ that keeps you motivated throughout the day.
Improves your routine
Completing exercise during the early hours of your day will let you have ample time for other chores. Since you’re pumped right from when you woke up, you will be more productive while ticking your daily to-do list.
Studies (2) suggest the benefits of running in the morning remain active for at least two hours after the workout session. So, the task you take up right after your early morning workout will bring out the best in you.
Studies suggest exercise improves our attention and thinking abilities. So, the benefits of running in the morning suggest that exercising is best before you ‘get your head in the game.’ Your cognitive strength will improve, you will solve problems faster, and make quick decisions. It also improves attention span, which is vital for productivity at work.
High-quality sleep (3) depends a lot on the activities you have throughout the day. People struggle to sleep today due to a lack of exercise and a Netflix binge.
It is weird how the early morning act of running can bring you deep sleep at night. No matter what you do throughout the 15-16 hours when awake, the first hour of running correlates with sleep.
Running increase our heart rate and body temperature. These positively impact our circadian rhythm and sleep stages.
Exercising early morning positively impacts us and reduces high blood pressure and hypertension. It reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases and keeps you happy.
Makes you disciplined
One of the indirect benefits of running in morning is making yourself follow a schedule. We subconsciously do some activities every day, like sleeping and brushing our teeth. If you add running right after these two, you are more likely to set the tone of the day.
Once exercising is off your to-do list in the morning, you have the energy and time to align the rest of the activities. Moreover, exercises help you become disciplined and accomplish all the goals you thought weren’t attainable.
A new outlook on life
When you turn to morning jogging, you pause and appreciate the life around you. You take one hour away from swiping notifications on your phone to hear birds chirping around. You meet new people passing by and stop for a quick chat. There is no social media to scroll through, so it takes you back to old times. You go out in the morning to shed pounds, but you come back home with a newfound outlook on life.
Prepares you for marathon
Ever wanted to go on a marathon but never had the power to attempt it? Here is one of the benefits of running in morning if you can practice for a long time. Participating in a marathon will need you to endure long stretches of running. You can do these on an empty stomach, as marathon preparation differs from regular running.
For starters, you have to make your body get adapted to running. You have to track the number of minutes you can sustain, which surprisingly might only be a few minutes when starting. Regular running can increase your endurance by increasing run time to 30 minutes and 1 hour. However, marathons last longer and require dedicated practice.
Benefits of running in the morning on an empty stomach
Since running is one of the forms of aerobic exercise, it makes our body go through high-intensity activities. Surprisingly, doing it at a specific time can increase or decrease benefits based on your expected output. Let us find out why running early morning without food can work for you:
Source of fuel used
Many people believe they have muscle loss from running on an empty stomach. It is also why most people prefer having pre-workout meals before going to the gym.
We force our body to break protein from muscles to fuel the energy needed during empty stomach workouts. We might think our body loses muscle, but that is not true.
Our body has glycogen stores in the muscles and liver. During the night, our body lowers insulin levels, reducing glycogen levels. But the glycogen stores remain, and an early morning run uses energy from this source.
Glycogen is full of sugar and carbs stored in muscles that gradually deplete when you do high-intensity cardio.
Best for weight loss
Everyone has different expectations from exercising. If weight loss is of prime importance, you will benefit from running on an empty stomach in the morning.
Aerobic exercises like running make us do cardio that aids in weight loss. While strength training is equally essential, cardio burns a lot more fat.
According to the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, doing aerobics before eating can burn twice as much fat as done post-meal.
Our body requires energy to function, and that comes from food. But when trying to lose weight, we must balance our energies to follow the proper diet.
The calorie burn has to outdo the amount of calories consumed to lose weight. The benefits of running in morning come a breather when looking for high-intensity cardio workouts to shed extra pounds.
Feeling light and happy
You fasted for a significant period when you wake up after 7-8 hours of sleep. If you go for a run at that time, you make your body feel lighter as it has no feeling of fullness from food consumption.
Going for an early morning run improves our mental well-being and makes us feel light. You have an instant boost in energy levels, and happy hormones or endorphins flow through your body.
Reduced stomach disorders
If you have undigested food, you might feel uneasy while running. Unlike other cardio activities, running forces us to retain a speed to accomplish it rightly. However, fluids or solids in the body during this activity can make you uneasy. In worst-case scenarios, it can make you want to poop midway and rush home.
If you don’t have energy on a particular morning, you can start with low-intensity jogging instead of non-stop running. But in both cases, it is best to do it on an empty stomach to avoid bloating, vomiting, and other related issues.
Drawbacks of running in the morning
Every form of exercise is meant for a specific body type to maximize output as desired. No matter how unlikely this feels, there are chances that running in the morning can also bring undesirable results. Here are some cases where you are better off avoiding this activity:
When trying to build muscles
Muscle building requires strength training and the right protein consumption. While there are universal benefits of running in morning, someone trying to bring gains to their body would likely avoid this. Since glycogen stored in our muscles is used when running on an empty stomach, depletion is best avoided.
Not good for the long-run
If you are an athlete who wants to improve performance, there might be better options than early morning runs. Lack of glycogen can restrict your training duration for long hours of practice sessions.
Regular training without adequate food can have adverse impacts on your body. If you do not replenish energy efficiently, your body will lack the ability to carry out basic activities.
For weight loss, this is a good practice to begin your journey. But as you start seeing results, you should have pre-workout meals and add strength training.
Feeling sore all day
If you have a job that needs you to stay active, this exercise might make you feel sore all day. Your body will feel tired and carry the fatigue at work. Your legs might tremble and make you unable to move, especially when starting out.
If you have a sedentary job, this activity will not impact you against someone who needs to move or stand all day. In such cases, you should consider your work activities before making your body move for hours every morning.
Now that we have weighed the pros and cons of running in the morning, it is time for you to decide if this one is for you. Remember, there are many ways to lose weight, you just need to find the one that is perfect for you.
- Lee DC;Brellenthin AG;Thompson PD;Sui X;Lee IM;Lavie CJ; (no date) Running as a key lifestyle medicine for longevity, Progress in cardiovascular diseases. (Accessed: 09 July 2023) Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28365296/.
- Basso, J.C. and Suzuki, W.A. (2017) The effects of acute exercise on mood, cognition, neurophysiology, and neurochemical pathways: A Review, Brain plasticity (Amsterdam, Netherlands). (Accessed: 09 July 2023) Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5928534/.
- Fairbrother, K. et al. (2014) Effects of exercise timing on sleep architecture and nocturnal blood pressure in prehypertensives, Vascular health and risk management. (Accessed: 09 July 2023) Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4270305/.