What Are the Benefits of Morning Cycling?

Man mountain-biking on slickrock at dawn
An early bike ride can boost your energy and help replace your morning coffee habit. (Image: Comstock Images/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

When it comes to cardio workouts, cycling is one of the best options. Cycling boosts your cardiovascular fitness without putting stress on your hips and knees the way that running and walking do. Whether you're joining a spin class at a local gym or hopping onto a bike for some outdoor riding, cycling in the morning offers specific benefits for your well-being, health and weight-loss goals.

Improve Your Ability to Sleep

cyclist
Cyclist (Image: stefanschurr/iStock/Getty Images)

When you cycle outdoors in the morning, you expose your eyes to those first few glimmers of morning sunshine. That's enough to jump start your circadian rhythm — the internal cycle that governs sleep. Morning light exposure, combined with exercise, may help you to conquer sleep disorders such as insomnia. In contrast, cycling and doing other forms of exercise in the late afternoon or evening can throw your body's cycles off balance and make it more difficult for you to sleep.

Replace Your Coffee Habit

Cyclist drinking water
Replace your coffee habit (Image: Polka Dot Images/Polka Dot/Getty Images)

If you're feeling sleepy or groggy in the morning, reach for some bicycle handlebars instead of reaching for your coffee. Early-morning workouts enhance your body's levels of endorphins — hormones that help you feel good and create a natural "high" feeling — and also increase your circulation, thus energizing you and waking you up. Your improved mood and higher levels of energy will often last for several hours after your workout, so you don't have to worry about the post-caffeine crash that often happens when you depend on coffee and other stimulants for your morning boost.

Skip Over Schedule Conflicts

Weekly planner
Weekly planner (Image: Goodshoot/Goodshoot/Getty Images)

Exercise should be a priority in your life, thanks to the vast array of health benefits it offers. Unfortunately, if you wait until the end of your busy day to work out, scheduling conflicts, work problems and family issues can create a wide range of roadblocks to your cycling goals. Cycling in the morning before your day starts helps avoid all of that. In fact, American Council on Exercise program coordinator Julia Valentour tells "U.S. News & World Report" that people who exercise in the morning tend to stick with it longer.

Spin Off That Extra Weight

Close-up of a man standing on a scale
Lose weight (Image: Medioimages/Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images)

If you're cycling for its weight-loss perks, morning cycling offers you distinct health benefits toward this specific goal. That's why many professional cyclists enjoy fasted cycling: the practice of bicycling in the morning before eating any food. Doing so may help your body to burn off more of its fat stores, with professional cyclists and professional bodybuilders typically aiming for approximately 20 minutes of fasted cardio. An additional perk: spinning those pedals at the start of your day elevates your body's metabolism rate for the rest of your day, further helping you to burn off more calories and maintain a healthy weight.

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