6 Amazing (And Mostly Unknown) Benefits Of Running In The Morning
Some people run whenever they can, even to work. Some swear that there is nothing better than romantic sunset runs. Some aim at midday sun running and then some add that running at the start of the day is the only way to go.
Those runners claim the benefits of running in the morning are above everything else but their splinter group, the Fasting Runners, argue that running in the morning before eating, before you have your breakfast, is even better.
Clearly we are onto something here. So let’s have a look into what makes running in the morning so special, and so good for us. Morning run benefits – what ARE they?
1. You’ll sleep like a baby if you consistently run in the morning
Those who have trouble sleeping well will know how bad that can be. You can’t fall asleep, or you wake up in the middle of the night, or you seem unable to reach deep sleep and then you end up feeling battered for the rest of your day.
Take up running in the morning, as early as possible, at dawn if you can! You will form and build up a routine. You’ll feel more tired in the evening, you will be likely to sleep better simply by doing the same things at the same time. Talking of the benefits of running early in the day, this one often steals the show.
Did you know that Eliud Kipchoge runs his training marathons early in the morning? Something tells me that his sleep is very good.
Photo by Ivone De Melo at Pexels
2. Your stress levels are likely to drop (or the mental health benefits of running in the morning)
When I expected a busy day at work and the workload caused me anxiety, I would simply go for a 5K run before work. It worked for me every time. I felt more relaxed, everything made more sense, I was more lucid and the workload didn’t seem as daunting as only a few hours ago.
This is one benefit of a morning run that we should take seriously. If we build up high levels of stress we are running the risk of developing depression or anxiety – and running has been known to help reduce them.
You don’t have to push yourself hard or run too long, a moderate jog will also help.
Have you ever heard runners talk about how beautiful their park is when running in the morning? Or even their streets?
When your body is relaxed, your mental state is in the right place. You feel better, you notice more, and quite often you return home feeling good about yourself, which has a great impact on your overall mental health.
When I’m away I will aim to ‘feel’ the new place I’m visiting by running there before dawn, or at least very early. If you ever get a chance, run by the ocean from Brighton to Hove and back. Or some historic town when there’s just you and maybe another runner here and there.
Those moments are priceless, and your day ahead will feel much easier.
3. Your bones and joints will appreciate it (how about that for morning run benefits!)
I can’t remember how many times I’ve been told that running will ruin my joints. Instead, the state of my joints have improved. I feel they are in better condition now, in my late fifties than they were in my mid-twenties, during beer and cigarette rich, lazy walking, sofa days.
I like reading articles and studies that bring good news about our bodies and some studies claim that we, the brave runners, are less likely to develop problems with our joints. Apparently, frequent running makes us fit, and we can also lose weight. And if we carry less weight we are less likely to put strain on our joints. And interestingly, running in the morning has been linked to more developed strength in our muscles – which in return reduces the risk of osteoarthritis.
Good stuff all around!
4. Running in the morning before eating can help you lose weight (got your attention there, eh?)
Should you decide that running in the morning before eating is worth a shot and you go for it, here’s what happens. Generally, food can provide energy but can also store up as fat.
If you go out there and run in the morning, pre-breakfast, you will definitely return home with a healthy appetite but, check this out, your body will need food to restore itself and not simply store it all up as fat. That morning jog will kick start your metabolism and the calories will burn like confetti on fire, not just then but all through the day. Imagine that!
Of course, you will still need to watch your diet but this a perfect start and another one of those great morning run benefits.
I already mentioned Eliud Kipchoge and his early morning routine. Did you know that the great man runs his morning training marathons not only very early, but on an empty stomach as well? Don’t try that just yet though. You may not finish them.
5. Create an early morning Kids’ Club!
Kids’ Club? What Kids’ Club? Are we still talking about running in the morning and morning run benefits? Oh yes we are. In order to get up before dawn and start pounding the ground in the dark and often in near freezing temperatures we need motivation.
And to be motivated we often need like-minded souls around us. Often not many, 2-3 will do, but a bigger group will be an even better and more supportive scenario.
In these busy and uncertain times, a supportive group of people who share the same interest can be of significant help.
Go out and do something healthy and fun! Organise an ‘(Early) Morning Runners’ Club’ and re-discover an inner child in you by running at dawn! Go out and play!
The consistency and structure of running in the company of people who enjoy running at an unusual time will wake up the line of benefits. There will be a sense of accomplishment, new found camaraderie and feelings of relaxation, as well as the perfect way to start your day. Try it!
6. Early bird catches the biggest benefit of a morning run
One word. Productivity.
Many people feel their days are too short. Well, they are what we make out of them. If you get up late in the morning they indeed can sometimes feel too short. But if you get up early, or very early, and go through your morning run, or even ‘running in the morning before eating’ routine, you will come back energised with your brain and thoughts sharper, your feelings more positive.
Some artists complete their working day by lunch, and chill afterwards. Many creative people do. But even if you’re not composing a piano concerto and are working a regular job, would it not be better to arrive at work feeling good and with more energy – as opposed to being stressed and with a tepid coffee-to-go in hand?
Think about it.
Running benefits us on so many levels, whenever and wherever we run. But how often did you feel that what happens in the morning sets the tone for the entire day? Running in the morning benefits the body with a nice portion of oxygen through a nice cardio workout and will help us deal with what’s ahead in a more relaxing way, whatever we do.
Getting up early, peeping through the window and seeing nothing but darkness can be a rather intimidating proposition given that a warm bed is a step away. The idea is to think bigger and to think of end results.
The endless fight between the brain and what the body actually needs is often won by the brain (way more clever organ than your legs). However, if you convince your brain what it will gain in less than an hour, or maybe just 15-20 minutes, the pattern will be in place once the brain registers the results.
Many have been reluctant until they finally tried the first few runs and realised the real benefits of a morning run. Once the bar is set, many of those runners have not looked back. Why don’t you try?
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