The Health and Fitness Benefits of Early Morning Exercise Maitland Mercury

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If, like me, you’ve been enjoying the sunrises earlier in the past couple of weeks, the onset of daylight saving time over the weekend may have been an unwelcome arrival. I haven’t always been an early riser. There were times, many moons ago, when I was more likely to go to bed as the sun was rising over the horizon for the day rather than rising at that time. But over the years, and especially since having kids, getting up in what many would describe as the wee hours has become a much loved routine. As with everything, it takes time to develop a new habit. So while right now, waking up early to some might seem as likely as the coronavirus completely disappearing from our lives, that doesn’t mean that it can’t become a daily habit in the future. The advantages are many. It is quiet. There is something wonderful, especially as a parent, about the sheer silence of an early morning run, walk, bike, swim, or workout. Even the popular trails in the area are not crowded at this time of day. It is not too hot. This is especially beneficial at this time of year when the weather warms up and it may be unnecessary to sweat profusely at 7 a.m., if not before. It is picturesque. No matter where you are – the beach, the bush, the local park, or even your backyard, there is something hypnotic about seeing the sun burst on the horizon and the colors of the sky before it emerges. It always makes me smile. It can bring focus and energy. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I’m so much more motivated and energetic on the days I wake up in the dark to exercise at sunrise. If I sleep later and don’t move I feel lazy and slower and everything in everyday life seems a bit more difficult. This can kick off a day of more activity. If I exercise in the morning, I’m more likely to take the recommended 10,000 steps per day for good health than if I haven’t. The hardest part may actually be getting up. And that could be the case this week even for the most routine first hikes. The trick is to go to bed early. Try to stick to your usual routine as much as possible while adjusting to the change to daylight saving time this week. Make a commitment to meet a workout buddy. That way, when the alarm goes off and you think twice before getting up, you’ll have the added responsibility of helping someone else meet their health and fitness goals. Prepare your equipment the day before. The more organized you are the night before, the easier it will be for you to get up and go in the morning. To be realistic. If you’re not an early riser but want to be, start with small goals, like getting up for 20 minutes of exercise to begin with. Do this for the first week, then gradually set your alarm earlier each week until you have an hour each day to exercise. Send your health and fitness news to [email protected] Renee Valentine is a journalist, graduate personal trainer and mother of three.

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