For the most part, I’m a morning exerciser. Even though I have some flexibility in my day, I feel a lot better when I get in a good sweat session before anyone else in my house is even awake. It starts my day off right.
A lot of people are skeptical when I tell them about my routine, so here are five good reasons to exercise in the morning. If you work out early, you can:
- Beat the traffic. Sure, Wayland is just 18 miles from Boston. But if you leave your house at 8:00, it can take a full hour to travel less than 20 miles into the city. Instead, why not cut your commute time and sneak in a workout? I know a few people who leave their house at 5:30 to get to the city by 6, so they can hit the gym before settling down at their desk.
- Free up your evenings. For a lot of us, evening time is family time. If you get up to exercise early, your evenings are open for your kids’ activities, or for a class, or for any other obligation you have.
- Build good habits. Studies show that people who exercise in the morning exercise more consistently than those who work out in the afternoon or evening. It becomes a habit.
- Actually get it done. When you work out first thing — before you do anything else — you actually do it. You don’t get sidetracked and you can’t put it off. And, once you’re finished, you feel a sense of accomplishment. It really helps you start the day on a positive note.
- See the beauty of Wayland. Once you are into the habit of getting up early, you start to enjoy it. There’s something peaceful about getting outside when it's dark and quiet. And, if you go for an early morning run, you get to see the beauty of the town waking up. Last week, I got to see the sun rise over Dudley Pond. Priceless.
Now that you know why you should exercise early, here are some tips as to how to start building the habit:
- Make a date. Plan on meeting a friend for an early workout. If you know that someone’s relying on you, it’s much harder to hit the snooze button.
- Ease into it. It’s hard to wake up before the sun is up. So ease into it. If you usually get up at 7 a.m., set your alarm for 10 minutes earlier each day for an entire week. So, Monday you’d get up at 6:50; Tuesday, 6:40; Wednesday, 6:30; Thursday, 6:20; Friday, 6:10. The following week, you’re ready to set your alarm for 6:00 every day.
- Plan it out. Before you go to bed, lay out your workout clothes, your sneakers, your iPod — whatever you need to get dressed and out the door quickly. On nights that I’m really tired, I sleep in my workout clothes so I have absolutely no excuse when I get up in the morning.
- Pay for it. Splurge for a personal trainer and meet up at the gym, or sign up for an early morning boot camp class (Bonnie’s Bootcamp and Metrowest Bootcamp both offer early morning sessions). If you’ve already paid for the workout, you’re less likely to blow it off.
- Sleep on it. When you’re getting up early, you have to be disciplined about getting to bed early. Strive for seven hours a night so you can wake up with energy.