Health Benefits of Running in The Morning

Health Benefits of Running in The Morning

It’s nearly a proven fact for all of us that as we get older, our lives get busier. Suddenly, all that free time we seemed to have growing up — so much so that we’d actually complain about being bored — no longer exists. We are responsible for ourselves and our own commitments and priorities, of course, but most of us are also likely responsible for caring for our partners and our children, and perhaps even our parents or other extended relatives. This, of course, is in addition to maintaining our home, paying our bills on time, being a productive employee, donating our time and energy to our favorite charities, and being present in the lives of our friends and family. Oh, and don’t forget that somewhere in that mix, we’re supposed to be eating nutritious foods and exercising more often than not.

Are you exhausted yet?

Suffice it to say, then, that as we age, our time becomes more restricted than ever. However, despite us feeling like we have “less time” at our disposal than we did earlier in our lives, a) we still have the same amount of time, the same 24 hours, and b) the onus is on us to figure out how to manage everything better. For many people, the default is to basically run around like a chicken with its head cut off, caring for everyone else and tending to other people’s needs, and it’s not until a significant health scare rears its ugly face — like heart problems, pre-diabetes, excessive weight gain, or poor sleep — that we finally realize that oh yeah I haven’t been taking care of myself at all lately.

Sound familiar?

Many adults, particularly those who have a laundry list of responsibilities at work, at home, and in their personal lives, swear by their early morning exercise (and specifically, their early morning run). If you feel like you’re strapped for time each day, you’ll soon realize that the early morning hours are your new BFF for exercise. Below, I’ll describe in detail some of the health benefits of running in the morning and will hopefully guide you to making early morning running a new habit of yours.

Some health benefits of running in the morning include the following:

You’re more likely to actually do it because your motivation, willpower, and self-control are all highest early in the day. Some of us truly aren’t morning people and can’t, for the life of us, actually wake up early to run, and that’s totally ok. However, many of us are, or can make ourselves, and I think it’s to our advantage. Research has shown that people’s motivation, willpower, and self-control levels are highest during the earliest parts of the day — before people have had many opportunities to self-sabotage, naturally — so it makes sense that getting a run in first thing would be a no-brainer. Plus, realistically, you’re less likely to have a meeting, event, or soiree scheduled for 6am than you would at 6pm.

A first-thing-in-the-morning-run sets an excellent precedent for the rest of the day. There really is something to be said for waking up, having a hot beverage, and going out for a run before the rest of the world is awake. There’s a great amount of solace you can find on the roads or trails when it’s just you and the other morning warriors out there, and it’s literally like the calm before the storm of the day’s activities. It goes along with the aforementioned stuff about willpower and self-control levels; if you run first thing in the morning, you’re also more inclined to make sounder health- and diet-related decisions for the rest of the day, too.

Morning runs can help make you “regular.” There’s a lot of literature out there about how running affects the digestive system, and one major reason why people swear by their morning run is that it helps them maintain digestive/bowel regularity. Having regular bowel movements is beneficial for a whole host of other reasons, too, and starting your day with both a run and your “morning constitution” can help you begin your day feeling energized and just plain good, for lack of a better term!

Morning runs can help you sleep well at night. If you’re working out regularly, chances are that your sleep is pretty regulated as well if for no other reason than because your body craves it. Many people don’t realize that you actually make all your fitness gains from training during rest, not actually during your activity, so getting enough restful shut-eye each night becomes even more important.

If you start your day with a solid sweat session, and then go on about your day, tending to all your priorities and commitments, you’re most likely going to want to get to bed early or on-time each night. Again, there’s a lot of literature out there about the importance of sleep (and how most people are severely lacking in it), and there have been clear and documented connections between sleep health and overall health. A regular, early morning run can help do wonders for your shut-eye later in the night.

A regular morning run, over time, will become second nature to you. Finally, the nice thing about starting your day with a regular, early morning run is that over time, it will become second nature to you, something that you simply do without much thought or hesitation. Think of it like brushing your teeth each morning before you leave the house. You probably actually don’t think all that much about brushing your teeth each morning; instead, it’s something that you always do and is something that you could probably do in your sleep.

While it may be hard to believe when you’re first getting into the routine of regularly running in the mornings, over time, once it becomes a habit for you, it will become something that you could essentially do with your eyes closed. In fact, it’ll become so second nature to you that if you don’t do it, you’ll probably feel like something is horribly wrong, like you left home without wearing pants (or something equally embarrassing). Trust me on this one!

These are but a handful of the many health benefits of running in the morning. Particularly because we’re getting into the very busy time of year, what with all the holiday-focused celebrations coming at us, you’ll likely find that running in the morning may be the only time that you can actually fit in your run each day. Give morning running a shot, and I bet you’ll be surprised how much you like it!

AUTHOR’S BIO: JANE GRATES

Cyclist, hiker and definitely a ramen lover. Making at the junction of modernism to craft meaningful ideas that endure. I make random things with friends.

 



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