Some of us are "morning people" and some of us aren't.
Those of us who are swear by morning exercise. For the rest of us, the thought of getting up an hour earlier than we absolutely have to sends shivers of panic down our spines! Assuming those non-morning people among us can drag ourselves out of bed at an ungodly hour (especially in the middle of winter); there is another hurdle to be overcome - the thought of exercising on a totally empty stomach!
Putting this aside for a moment, there are some good reasons to exercise in the morning and also some very good reasons why it might not be a great idea.
Let's have a look at each of these under the headings of pros and cons.
Morning exercise pros
Exercising in the morning can:
Get our metabolisms off to a flying start helping us burn more calories throughout the day
Promote more fat burning because our depleted glycogen stores force our bodies to turn to fat
Produce endorphins that stimulates us and helps us get off to a positive start to the day
Act like a cup of coffee and wake us up
Help us exercise more consistently by minimizing distractions
Can create time for exercise by forcing us to get up a bit earlier
Improve energy levels for the rest of the day ahead
Improve our mental sharpness for hours after
Allow us to exercise unaffected by summer heat
Minimize our exposure to air pollution exercising outside
Make it easier to get on machines in the gym without waiting and when time limits don't apply
Morning exercise cons
As well as having many positives, morning exercise also has some negatives.
Included in these are the facts that morning exercise can:
Force us to workout with less than optimal energy levels
Promote injuries by forcing us to workout with cold, stiff muscles
If exercising before eating, muscle (as well as fat) can be used as a fuel source
Make it difficult for us to form a habit for exercise (if we are not "morning people")
Put some of us at higher risk for heart attack (research suggests a generalized increased risk)