8 Benefits of Running in the Morning

Man running in the morning.

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Do you love sleeping in? Most people do, especially during the winter months. What else is there to do when the sun doesn’t rise until 8 a.m.? Even then, it’s still cold and gray outside. Better to stay in bed and catch up on sleep, right? Well, it turns out that hitting the snooze button isn’t all that beneficial, especially when you have the option to go for a run instead. There are plenty of advantages to getting your workout in early. Here are just a few benefits of running in the morning.

1. Promotes a Healthy Lifestyle

Perhaps you’ve decided to focus on fitness in the new year. Maybe you’ve even made a few resolutions regarding your health. In this case, routines are your best friend. Make a habit of running each — or every other — morning to boost your self-discipline. The more often you stick to your schedule, the more likely running is to become a lifelong habit rather than a passing fancy, and the more likely you are to commit to more health-related goals in the future. 

2. Reduces Stress

Finishing your day with an evening run has been known to reduce stress, and morning runs are just as effective. Release pent-up tension, anxiety and worry by pumping your arms and legs to the beat of your favorite tunes. Breathe deep and focus on your footfalls to quiet your thoughts and adopt a more meditative running style. Try to start your run after the sun is already up to increase your daily sunlight exposure and take care of your body and mind. 

3. Enhances Your Mood

What happens when you minimize stress? There’s more room for positive feelings like peace, satisfaction and even joy. Going for a morning jog can also directly improve your mood by boosting endorphins and serotonin. Take your routine off the treadmill and outside to soak up more vitamin D, get some fresh air and lessen feelings of loneliness, isolation and anxiety

4. Boosts Energy Levels 

If you struggle to roll out of bed in the morning, going for a run might seem counterintuitive. However, it turns out lacing up your shoes and pounding the pavement might actually provide you with more energy throughout the day. Have a cup of coffee before your run to boost your energy levels even more and enhance fat burn, metabolism and athletic performance. No more midday slump for you!

5. Improves Sleep 

The early bird gets the worm —and more sleep! Though it might not seem like it, waking up early to break a sweat can help you sleep better in the long run. That’s because it helps kick-start your body and brain the same way bright morning light does. It also promotes melatonin release earlier in the evening so you fall asleep faster. Hit the hay early so you’re well-rested and ready to do it all over again tomorrow. 

6. Reduces Blood Pressure 

Going for a run any time of the day can help reduce blood pressure, but completing yours earlier in the day might be even more beneficial. That’s because morning workouts contribute to greater dips in diastolic blood pressure. Some doctors even recommend a morning exercise routine to patients with hypertension as an alternative or complementary treatment method to prescription medication.

7. Promotes Joint Health

Many people are under the misconception that running wears on your joints and eventually ruins your knees. However, this is only true of those who’re overweight, have underlying conditions or are competitive runners who train at high intensity and for long intervals. Meanwhile, recreational runners enjoy better joint health than both professional athletes and sedentary populations. Ultimately, moving your body actually relubricates your joints the fluid between your joints

8. Frees Up Your Evenings 

Arguably the best benefit of running in the morning is that it frees up your evenings. Kiss those post-work gym sessions goodbye and have fun going out with friends, rediscovering your passions and trying new hobbies. Sure, you’ll still have to turn in early, but you’ll still have four to five hours to relax and unwind each night. Eventually, this routine can help you achieve a better work-life balance and you’ll be more satisfied with your schedule. 

Movement Matters 

Whether run in the morning, afternoon, evening — or even at all — ultimately comes down to personal preference. There are many benefits to running in the morning, but everyone has their own passions, skills and possibilities. What works for one person might not work for another and, if running doesn’t appeal to you, there are plenty of other activities to choose from. 

Perhaps you’d rather hit the gym in the morning or jump on your Peloton when you get home from work. Maybe you enjoy dancing, hiking or tai chi instead. Whatever you do, all that matters is that you move. Challenge yourself, break a sweat and crack a smile. It might just do you some good. 

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