Become a Morning Exercise Person

It may not be conclusive as to when is the ideal time of day for exercise. Many studies suggest that weight loss benefit is maximum in the morning. However, the improvements in blood sugar and cholesterol may be better in afternoon. To be practical, you should select a time when you can exercise consistently as that would be most effective way to derive benefits.

Researchers suggest, mornings are better for vast majority of people because they will have more control over their time. There is also no commitments or errands or party invitations at say 6 am.

One may say that if you don't exercise in the morning, you won't be able to do it all day.

Of course, it is not easy to simply jump out of bed in the morning and start running or lifting weights. Yet, there might be a sustainable exercise routine.

You need to prepare for it just like any other goal or ambition.

Our body cells function on a daily rhythm lasting approximately 24 hours. It's a cycle that determines not just when we will fall asleep and wake up, but also our body temperature, our hunger pangs, our hormones and much more.

You will be shifting not just your bedtime but your entire circadian clock. You can't just start waking up at 6 am if you have been waking up at 8 am for months or years. You should gradually sleep a little earlier and instead of switching your alarm clock from 8 am to 6 am, try 7:45 am. Gradually, sleep early, wake up early. Your cortisol levels will become high enough in the mornings to get your ready for your early morning exercise routine. If you sleep at 11 pm, sleep at 10:45 pm, then 10:30 pm and so on.

Summer season brings out the sunrise early. Just open the window or step out into the sunshine to get awake and ready for exercise. For winter, you will need artificial light to keep waking up smoothly in the early hour of the day. Bright light communicates to your body to stop making melatonin, which is a hormone that enables sleepiness.

If you have access to bright light in the morning then it is the best way to help train your circadian cycle. You would need a 10,000 lux therapy lamp. However, if you have a 100-watt bulb, it would deliver 2,000 lux which should work for many people as well.

Reverse engineer your day's schedule. Work backwards to make your plan. Set your deadlines so that you know you need to be up and finished with your exercise for your personal and professional commitments.

Avoid distractions such as checking your email or messages or notifications when you wake up. They will slow you down or derail your exercise goal.

As with any new activity, choose a realistic goal and anticipate probable obstacles. For example, don't set specific weight loss target when you already have the target to wake up early to exercise. Let it happen gradually with consistent exercise.

If you are lifting weights, don't expect to lift as much as others who are regular at the gym since months or weeks. Just focus on form so you do the reps correctly. If you are running, don't worry about speed and distance covered at the beginning. Soon all this will become a good habit and the body will learn to endure heavier weights or faster pace of running.

As with human mind and body, if you stick to your plan and routine, it has to become a habit whether you expected it or not. Habits happen and waking up early will no longer be a conscious decision of exercising, it just becomes part of your daily life.

It may take anywhere from 18 to 254 days for a habit to become automatic, as per a widely cited 2009 study.

Don't lose motivation if some unforeseen obstacle appears or if you miss a workout on one day.

The key here is that you maintain your sleep schedule even on weekends. That's the biggest challenge for many.

Soon you will be a morning person, an early bird and exercise will be something you "just do", not something you "think about doing".

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