The Benefits of Running in the Morning

Couple running on beach at sunrise
Couple running on the beach at sunrise. (Image: Jupiterimages/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Running is an effective way to help increase your fitness levels, burn fat and lose weight. And it can be more convenient and cost-effective, and less time-consuming, than going to the gym. While running anytime can help you toward your fitness and fat-loss goals, running in the morning may provide extra psychological and physiological benefits that help speed your progress.

Lower Blood Pressure

Early morning exercise has a positive effect on blood pressure, according to Dr. Scott Collier at Appalachian State University. Collier tracked the blood pressure and sleep patterns of three groups of 40 to 60 year old participants who walked on a treadmill at 7 a.m., 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. The early morning exercisers experienced an average drop of 10 percent in their blood pressure, which lasted all day, and a 25 percent drop at night. If your blood pressure tends toward the high side, your early morning run may have positive long-term benefits to your health.

Stress Relief

Many runners often cite one benefit of running as stress relief -- a long run on your own with no distractions can be a beneficial way to take your mind off the pressures of work and family life, and help you relax. Personal trainer Christian Finn advises that getting your cardio out of the way first thing in the morning gives you the feeling of being one step closer to your goals, and it helps you stay in a positive mood for the rest of the day.

Convenience

Even the most dedicated exercisers often say they don't have time to work out, and that work, family and social commitments can take precedence over training. If you often find yourself having to stay late at work or attend various social events in the evening, then training in the morning is a way to include exercise in your schedule.

Weight Training

Running can help you lose fat and improve your body composition, but exercise programs should also include resistance training to help build lean muscle and burn fat. Charles Poliquin, owner of the Poliquin Performance Center for elite athletes, says strength training is best done either three or 11 hours after you wake up, as this is when your strength levels are at their highest and your joints are most mobile. You can run early in the morning and do weight training later in the day.

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