How Long After You Wake Up Should You Exercise?

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When starting an exercise routine, there are many things to consider, including your work and family schedule. You may also consider a time of day when you're at your best both physically and mentally. There are few studies that have shown a morning exercise routine may be superior. But remember, exercise will benefit you no matter what time of day you work out.

Morning Workout for Better Sleep

  • In a study published by the American College of Sports Medicine it was learned that exercising in the morning, compared to other times of the day, could help to improve your sleep habits. The study followed 10 subjects who exercised on three different days at three different times. Participants exercised at 7 a.m., 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. for 30 minutes. It was found that on the days the participants exercised at 7 a.m., they experienced a better night of sleep. Of course, if you suffer from inconsistent sleeping habits, exercising in the morning could be a challenge at first.

Breaking Your Fast

  • When choosing how soon to work out in the morning, breakfast is a big consideration. There has been a lot of controversy about whether you should eat breakfast before or after your workout in the morning. According to the Mayo Clinic, it's important to refuel your body after a long night of sleep, as your blood sugar may be low. If you plan to exercise as soon as you wake up, eat a small snack such as an apple and almond butter or a granola bar. If you plan to eat a meal, wait two to four hours before you exercise, depending on the size of your meal.

Tick Tock Goes Your Clock

  • You have likely heard that it's important to warm up your muscles before working out to prevent injuries. But something you may not have considered is your body’s internal temperature and how it could affect your workout. Your body has an internal clock for sleeping and body temperature called a circadian rhythm. According to the American Council on Exercise, your body temperature is at its lowest about two to three hours before you wake up, and heats up as the day progresses. Workouts performed later in the day, when muscles are warm and more flexible, yield a better performance. If you want to exercise in the morning and performance is an issue, consider waiting two to three hours after you wake up. If that’s not an option, take a longer warm up. For example, instead of a five-minute walk, walk for 10 to 15 minutes before running or strength conditioning.

Building a Routine

  • When trying to build a consistent exercise routine, working out in the morning, before other obligations, is ideal. If working out first thing in the morning is difficult, try going to bed an hour or two earlier. Also, work on building healthy before-bed routines such as no electronics an hour before bed, and trying not to eat before sleep, as both interfere with sleep cycles. If working out in the morning just isn't an option for you, you’ll still benefit from exercise at another time of day. The important thing is to choose a schedule you can stick with.

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