Many fitness experts and weight loss pros will recommend that you take on your exercises first thing in the morning. After all, it means that you get your workout done right away, before your schedule has the chance to fill up and before you have the chance to run out of steam.
By exercising in the morning, you make sure you always complete those workouts. That said, while you're certainly doing your body a favor, research shows that your mind benefits from activity first thing in the morning, too. There are significant advantages to brain and mental health from getting up and getting moving.
For instance, research shows that when you exercise first thing in the morning you'll benefit your alertness, ability to learn, verbal memory, mood, overall memory, self esteem and capacity to concentrate on what you're doing. All that is just if your workouts focus on cardiovascular exercise first thing in the morning.
That said, if you use strength training and yoga first thing in the morning, you can enjoy greater alertness, but also reduce symptoms of depression. If you find you have a hard time getting up in the morning and motivating yourself to exercise right away, perhaps those benefits will start to provide you with the encouragement you need.
The key to getting the best benefits from springing out of bed and doing a workout is to choose the right exercises. Use the following tips to give you a bigger advantage so you can enjoy the best possible outcomes.
- Boost Your Cardio Workout – Cardio is great but not all workouts are created equal. For instance, going for a job or spending some time on the elliptical will certainly offer your mental health some substantial benefits. However, if you choose dancing instead, you'll bump up the hippocampus part of your brain and improve the parts of the brain linked with neuroplasticity. This means that your brain will be more adaptable and better able to adapt, respond and communicate within itself when t receives new information or stimulation from the senses.
- Don't Skip Strength Training – Many people skip strength training when their goal isn't bodybuilding. However, regular strength training won't necessarily cause you to bulk up as much as it will maintain the lean muscle you have, tone it, and burn fat. Moreover, strength training in the form of resistance training has been shown to enhance cognitive function and boost focus in as few as 2 sessions per week. Some studies also link this type of exercise to anxiety symptom control.
- Don't forget flexibility – If you start your morning with yoga, tai chi or a similar practice that focuses on breathing, you'll improve your mental attention and focus and will decrease your perceived stress while enhancing your attention span.