Night Owl or Early Bird?
Early bird gets the worm, right?
When it comes to fat loss, that statement holds quite a bit of truth…
Here are 5 benefits of morning movement:
#1 Sets the Tone for Your Day
You know the saying – “A body in motion stays in motion. A body at rest stays at rest.”
Have you ever noticed that once you get comfy on the couch how difficult it is to get off?
Morning movement is great for getting you off the couch, moving and into an active lifestyle.
The 2020 pandemic dramatically shifted the standard American day.
Prior to that you likely woke up and hustled around the house to get yourself and housemates ready for the day. Then, you commuted to work outside the home where you had to physically walk into an office built for productivity and NOT comfort. Break rooms and restrooms were far enough away that you had to plan when you were going to break away from the desk for a reprieve. After your work day, you commuted home and again hustled around going to and from activities and preparing for the next day. Finally, you rushed to bed counting down the hours and minutes of sleep you’d get if you fell asleep right NOW.
While by all classifications you still lived a sedentary lifestyle, there was still a lot of activity – especially in the morning.
But now, most jobs have shifted to full- or part-time work-from-home where the typical day looks something like:
Wake Up as Late as Possible
Change Shirt IF You Have Any Video Meetings
Walk to the Next Room to Settle at Your Workstation (One that you’ve made as cute and comfortable as possible now that it’s in your home)
Work as Long as Possible to Limit Trips to the Bathroom & Kitchen
Work WHILE Eating Lunch (If you eat lunch at all)
End the Day and Move Over the Couch for a TV Dinner and a Few Hours of TV Streaming
Whether you’ve returned to a traditional day at the office or you’re full-time work from home, it’s time you set the tone for your day with morning movement.
Starting your day with activity helps you:
1 – Move More Throughout Your Day (Your muscles are awake and excited to keep moving!)
2 – Make Better Nutritional Choices (Research shows that doing 1 healthful act for your body dramatically increases your likelihood to do another)
3 – Maintain a More Positive Outlook (This in turn improves productivity, willpower and motivation)
Sounds like it’s time to make it a great day, right!?
#2 Regulates Digestion
Morning movement helps to keep you moving throughout the day, but it’s also great at regulating your digestion.
In recent years, health experts have pushed a short 10-15 minute walk following meals to stabilize blood sugars, prevent post-meal energy crashes and AID DIGESTION.
Early morning activity has been found to stimulate the stomach and intestines, which allows the food to move through smoothly and rapidly.
Research suggests morning movement prevents diseases like heartburn, constipation and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Now, it must be noted that doing TOO MUCH early in the morning can HURT digestion…
Exercise is after all a stressor. Though it be positive, it triggers the fight-or-flight response, and allowing that to run too long can lead to constipation, heartburn and ulcers.
My favorite way to move in the morning?
Take a peek HERE 😉
#3 Encourages Natural Cortisol Fluctuations
If you haven’t heard of that hormone cortisol, it’s a real piece of work…
I could spend an entire blog writing about cortisol alone, so if you’re not familiar with it, CLICK HERE for FAST FACTS: CORTISOL.
For now, what you need to know is that cortisol has natural highs and lows throughout the day. These highs and lows are based upon your circadian rhythm (regulation of your sleep-wake cycle), stress levels, activity level and more.
Ideally, your cortisol levels spike early in the morning (within 30 minutes of waking) and steadily drop throughout the day until bedtime.
Exercise triggers a spike in cortisol, though nowhere near that of what you experience upon waking, because it is a healthy way to trigger the fight-or-flight response.
One of the biggest arguments for exercise first thing in the morning is that the majority of Americans are experiencing chronic stress, fatigue or burnout, which leads to an unnatural cortisol response.
Since most Americans experience either a prolonged elevation of cortisol levels or a rapid drop with dramatically lowered cortisol levels, research suggests exercise or movement first thing in the morning as an opportunity to restore normal cortisol levels.
Aside from restoring normal levels, it also supports your natural energy levels which might lead to an overall better workout.
Again, don’t think this needs to turn into a full 60+ minute workout, but it’s a great argument for adding 15-20 minutes of movement to take advantage of your natural cortisol rhythm.
#4 Objection Overcome
How many times have you said you’re just too tired after work?
Just don’t really feel like doing it?
Did you know that willpower and motivation are highest in the morning?
Willpower and motivation start the day as full buckets and every time you use them (which is pretty during human activity) you lose a little water. Your bucket empties throughout the day, which is why it gets harder and harder to say “Yes!” to tasks outside of your comfort zone.
One of my favorite arguments for morning movement lies in how it helps you overcome the typical objections to healthy behaviors.
With the added motivation and willpower, you’re able to give yourself a little extra boost to get going when tired…
When you feel like you have a million things on your plate…
And that pull to stay in bed or just skip suddenly doesn’t feel as strong…
The best part?
Leaning into the motivation and willpower like this actually helps to keep your bucket full and spark action throughout the rest of your day.
#5 Improves Mood & Energy
Do you know what happens when you start laying the groundwork for some of those healthy habits you always said you would do?
You find yourself in a better mood!
Did you know that on its own morning movement can improve mood and energy levels??
Aside from the motivation, physical activity naturally increases your “happy” hormone – endorphins.
There’s also significant research showing the impact of physical activity on feelings of depression and anxiety. While more research is needed to know exactly how this is done, it’s clear that overall symptoms are reduced with consistent activity.
While any type of morning movement is beneficial for health, the social aspect of physical activity is believed to also contribute to improved mood. Leaving the house, interacting with others and taking a workout class can ease the feelings of isolation which is huge for improving mood and energy levels.
Now, I’m not here to crush the Night Owls who thrive off the hustle and bustle of the day’s end…
Like I said in the beginning, there is no RIGHT TIME to burn calories.
Burning calories is burning calories, and if you consistently end the day in a caloric deficit, you will see a downward trend on the scale.
But research continues to support that those who are active earlier in the day have a lowered risk for obesity and its associated health conditions.
What If You Can’t Workout in the Morning?
Take a 10-Minute Walk.
Such a great way to get your body in motion!
The flow of walking naturally pumps fresh blood to your cold, sleepy muscles which activates them and encourages them to do their job from start to finish of the day.
Oh, and don’t give me the excuse that it’s too cold..
Either bundle up or just walk around your house for 10 minutes (I’m sure you have a spouse, kid or roommate to pick up after 😂)
10-Minutes of Stretching or Mobility.
Body not quite awake enough for a workout or walk?
Well, I’d love to tell you those 2 might be exactly what you need to wake yourself up but I get it 😉
Why not try stretching and mobility work?
You know those aches and pains you feel when you stand up or move a certain way?
A lot of those can be reduced or totally removed if you spend time giving a little TLC to those areas.
Ever been to physical therapy?
A chiropractor or massage therapist who recommends specific exercises following your appointment?
This would be a GREAT time to incorporate those into your life!
Personally, I use 2 stretches/mobility exercises and 2 muscle activation exercises every morning to keep me loose and fresh.
Pick 1-3 Light Exercises.
Getting a full workout might be a stretch, but how about a mini-workout?
Pick 1-3 light exercises that you can do in your PJs, couch clothes or work clothes. Examples include squats, good mornings, incline push ups, supermans, high knee marches, and butt kicks.
Do anywhere from 1 to 3 sets of 10 to 20 exercises of each exercise then get on with your day.
At Complete Performance, we utilize the 3×3 Plan to get some exercise first thing in the morning, check it out HERE!