Early morning exercise is a positive way to start your day and gets that pesky workout out of the way first thing. While there are many positive aspects to working out during the early morning hours, there are also several dangers you should be aware of. Sometimes it may be worth the inconvenience to exercise later in the day after your body has a chance to get going.
Increased Risk of Cardiovascular Events
Early morning exercise may be especially dangerous for older individuals who suffer from hypertension. A natural surge in blood pressure occurs during the first two hours after awakening. A study published in the American Heart Association's "Circulation" journal found that those subjects who presented a higher surge in blood pressure were at greater risk of suffering from a stroke. If you find yourself in this category, it may not be a bad idea to hold off on your workout until later in the day.
Those who live with diabetes need to be especially careful with early morning exercise. Hypoglycemia can occur during exercise, especially if you forgo breakfast before your workout. The American Diabetes Association recommends putting a trial and error system into place. Alter your activity level, insulin dose or pre-exercise snack as needed to ensure your blood glucose stays in a safe range and you feel good throughout your workout, especially during the early morning when you're recovering from the overnight fast.
Exercising first thing in the morning before breakfast may not be the best decision if you're looking to put in an intense workout. Your muscles are most efficient when working off of carbohydrates, which are depleted after a night of fasting. Exercising on an empty stomach forces your muscles to work off of fat stores causing them to be sluggish. If you're hoping for an intense, effective workout, eat a light carbohydrate-rick snack 15 to 30 minutes before your workout to fuel your muscles.
Dizziness, fainting and muscle cramps are also possible dangers associated with early morning exercise. This can be due to low blood sugar, dehydration or a combination of the two. Jumping out of bed directly into your running shoes prevents proper refueling and hydrating of your body. Take the time to drink a glass of water and eat a light snack to recharge your body and keep you on your feet during your workout.
- Circulation; Morning Surge in Blood Pressure as a Predictor of Silent and Clinical Cerebrovascular Disease in Elderly Hypertensives; Kazuomi Kario, MD, et al.
- American Diabetes Association: Exercise and Type 1 Diabetes
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Hypoglycemia
- AARP: Extreme Heat Warning: Beware of Dehydration