Snooze no more! Early a.m. exercise can improve your entire day

I used to scoff at people who got up early to exercise. I couldn’t understand how people could get out of bed and jump into sweaty sweat pants before the sun was even up.  You know who I’m talking about –those people who jog in the rain or snow before most people even have their first cup of coffee. On one hand I would admire the resolve of the soaking wet runner, on the other, I thought they were just plain crazy.

But, all that changed a few years ago.

At the time I was a full-time professional, attending grad school and was a wife and mother. Time was precious and trying to incorporate any type of regular exercise routine into my life seemed as realistic as growing another set of hands. I would try to exercise when I got home from work, but there were too many distractions once I walked through the door. Exhaustion, kids, cleaning, cooking, homework, errands, etc., made sticking to my after work exercise routine a challenge. Sound familiar to anyone?

So, I quit exercising all together for a while.

As time passed, I gained weight. I was constantly sluggish and low on energy. My self esteem took a hit every time I had to buy a bigger dress size. Something had to be done. That’s when I decided to exercise first thing in the morning. As I was already up, seeing off my high-school aged son, once he left for the bus, I decided to pull on those sweaty sweat pants, head down to the TV and flip on an ‘on demand’ exercise video.

Some contend that exercising first thing in the morning can lead to improved mood and productivity. Some feel that early a.m. exercise can boost your metabolism and ability to burn calories. I’ve adopted some helpful hints that have allowed me to incorporate an early a.m. exercise routine into my schedule, including:

  • Laying out my exercise clothes out the night before
  • Creating realistic fitness goals
  • Exploring different work-outs to ward off boredom

Based on my personal experience, exercising in the morning greatly improves my mood and gives me more energy throughout the day. The mixture of strength and weight training, cardio and plyometrics has allowed me to keep off a forty pound weight loss without really adhering to a ‘diet.’  But mostly, I enjoy the sense of pride in knowing that I’ve done something good for myself before my first cup of coffee.

While I don’t exercise every day of the week, I’ve committed to working out for a half hour at least four days during the work week. On those rare occasions where I’ve not been able to abide by my exercise schedule, I can feel it. I’m sluggish, a little more irritable and aggravated with myself for not sticking to my priorities.

Are you an early a.m. exerciser? Do you have any tips to share? Any advice to give to those who want to start an early morning exercise routine but feel it’s out of their reach?

Photo credit: raindog

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