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Start your morning off right by adding exercise to your routine.

Energize, burn more fat, and make the most of your morning by adding exercise to your AM routine.

Breakfast may be the most important meal of the day, but it’s what you do before your morning meal that can have the biggest impact when it comes to your health. Early risers have an advantage over those who like to spend a little extra time in bed, particularly if those first hours in the morning are spent getting their blood pumping. Exercising in the morning does more than just get your workout out of the way, it can actually yield major benefits for your mind, your mood, and your overall well-being — in fact, research even suggests it may be the key to maintaining a healthy weight.

Improved Energy

There’s nothing like a morning workout to set the tone for your entire day. When you begin your day with some exercise, you get your blood pumping, telling your brain it’s time to wake up, and the rush of endorphins you get from a workout can also keep your energy high all day. In fact, research conducted at the University of Georgia reveals that just 20 minutes of exercise every other day for six weeks significantly increased energy levels among adults with typically sedentary lifestyles.

Healthier BMI

While most exercise can help increase weight loss when combined with a healthy diet, morning exercise may help you shed those pounds faster that those late-night trips to the gym. Researchers at Northwestern University have found that individuals who had regular exposure to early morning sunlight were more likely to have lower BMIs than those who got their rays in the afternoon.

Better Heart Health

Starting your day with a workout is an easy way to improve your cardiovascular health before most people are even out of bed. Exercise is a natural energizer, making it easy to reduce your dependence on addictive substances like sugar and caffeine, which researchers at Duke Medical University Center have linked to an increased risk of heart attack. Even better, just a few workouts a week can make your heart healthier, stronger, and slash your risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

More Mindful Eating

Enjoying a morning workout might just be the easiest way to keep your food choices healthier all day. Research published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition reveals a strong correlation between regular exercise and increased fruit and vegetable consumption, and many avid exercisers find that their desire for high-sugar, high-fat treats is actually tempered by the addition of exercise to their routine.

Easier Wake-Ups

If you find yourself hitting the snooze button over and over, starting your day with a workout can help. Exercise does more than just aid in keeping your hormones balanced, it can also make you wake up feeling well-rested. Research conducted by Smith College’s Neuroscience Program reveals that exercise can strengthen your circadian rhythms, making it easier to get up for your morning workouts and regulating when you fall asleep at night.

Improved Schedule

Starting your morning with a rush to get out the door can throw off the rest of your day in an instant. However, for those who begin their mornings with a workout, that mad dash can be all but eliminated; when you have a consistent morning workout to plan around, you make it easier to manage your time in the morning and increase your focus, too.

Less Stress

For those of us who aren’t morning people by nature, the mere act of waking up can send our stress levels through the roof. Fortunately, an A.M. exercise session can help. Researchers at the Omaha VA, Creighton University, and the University of Nebraska Medical Center have found that exercise is one of the best ways to reduce stress, and when you start your day with a workout, the benefits can last all day.

Reduced Hunger

It may seem counterintuitive, but working out in the morning may actually set you up for less hunger all day long. Researchers at Loughborough University have found that exercise can reduce the body’s levels of ghrelin, a hormone that stimulates appetite, while a review conducted at Indiana University suggests that the mere act of exercising can make it easier to pass up on unhealthy treats in favor of fruits, veggies, and lean proteins.

Increased Productivity

The best way to enjoy a more productive day is to add a morning workout to your schedule. Exercise helps regulate your circadian rhythms, making it easier to get enough sleep — and high-quality sleep, at that — every night. An abundant body of research suggests that sleep is one of the best determinants of productivity over the course of the day, so that A.M. sweat session might just be the key to being more effective in both your personal and professional lives.

A Faster Metabolism

If you want to speed up your metabolism, it’s time to start rethinking your morning routine. Starting your day by exercising on an empty stomach can help you burn more fat, rev your metabolism, increase your desire for healthy food, and send your energy level through the roof. Need we say more?

Improved Academic Performance

Eager to ace that test? Try starting your day with some exercise. According to researchers at Texas University, students who got an early start to their day had higher test scores than those who hit the snooze button. When you consider that researchers at the Autonomous University of Madrid have also linked exercise to improved academic performance, you’ve got plenty of reasons to start your day off with a workout.

Stronger Blood Vessels

A weak or bulging blood vessel can change your life in an instant. Fortunately, a little exercise first thing in the morning can help you strengthen your blood vessels, reducing your risk of a deadly cardiovascular event. According to research published in Circulation, exercise can significantly improve the health of the endothelium, the inner lining of your blood vessels, making you less likely to suffer from atherosclerosis, heart attack, blood clots, and stroke. When you combine that the weight-lowering effects of early morning light, it seems like an A.M. workout might just be the perfect prescription for a healthy life.

Increased Optimism

Convincing yourself to see the glass half full can be hard, but morning exercisers may have the upper hand when it comes to optimism. Researchers at the University of Toronto found that early birds are generally more optimistic than night owls, and when you add in the endorphin rush you get from exercise, it’s not hard to see why an early workout can make all the difference in how the rest of your day pans out.

Better Self-Esteem

There’s nothing like feeling healthy, energetic, and confident to make the world seem like your oyster. Luckily, some early morning exercise can raise that self-esteem through the roof in no time. Research from the Norwegian Directorate for Health and Social Affairs reveals that exercise is significantly associated with high self-esteem, and when you start your morning on a high note, it’s easy to set the tone for your whole day.

Increased Discipline

If you’re eager to get into a routine you can stick to, exercising in the morning is a great place to start. Exercising when you first wake up helps you create the discipline necessary to achieve your long-term health and fitness goals by challenging you the second you get out of bed. Even better, committing to exercise at the same time each day can help you maintain a more effective and disciplined schedule throughout your day.

Greater Fat Loss

Exercising in the morning can do more than just rid you of excess weight — it can actually help you specifically target body fat. The results of a Belgian study published in the Journal of Physiology reveals that exercising on an empty stomach improved glucose tolerance and improved subects’ fat-burning capacity.

More Workout Consistency

Your ability to be consistent is one of the most important factors in the success of any workout plan. Fortunately, early exercise can help you stick to a regular routine — you may not always be free after work, but most of us have precious little on our plate at the crack of dawn.

A Stronger Immune System

Make your immune system stronger by starting your day out with a jog or trip to the gym. According to a study published in the American Journal of Physiology, exercise can help improve the efficacy of your antibodies, keeping your immune system strong.

Night Owls Become Morning People

Morning people are more optimistic, have lower BMIs, and actually relish getting out of bed in the morning. The good news? You can become one of them, even if you’re a staunch night owl at the moment. After a few weeks of A.M. exercise, you’ll be so dependent on that morning energy and endorphin boost that you might just switch your loyalty from night to day.

More Solo Time

Working out in a crowded gym isn’t always relaxing, but the art of exercising itself can be a highly meditative act. Making time to exercise early in the morning can mean you’re often the only one on the street or at the gym, giving you the peace and quiet you deserve but so rarely get.

A Better Work-Life Balance

Squeezing in a workout during your lunch hour can make mealtime a rush, and trying to hit the gym on your way home after a long day can make you dread exercise. Luckily, starting your day with a workout can make it easier to compartmentalize your day, making 9 to 5 all about business and leaving you the rest of the day to devote to your passions. Researchers at Saint Leo University have even found that regular exercise can help you achieve the highly elusive work-life balance so many of us seek.

Reduced Metabolic Syndrome Risk

Metabolic syndrome, a group of conditions that includes excess belly fat, high blood pressure, and high blood sugar, may increase your risk of heart disease and diabetes, but some morning exercise may help. Research published in Diabetes Care reveals that exercise can help reduce your risk of metabolic syndrome, and the extra fat-burning power you get from exercising first thing can slash your risk even further.

Better Moods

Start the day on the right foot by adding some exercise to your routine. The rush of endorphins you get from an early morning workout can help set you up for a better mood all day long, keeping your stress level low and your feelings of relaxation and well-being high.

Reduced Acid Reflux Symptoms

Make those GERD symptoms a thing of the past by getting in your exercise before breakfast. Exercising after a meal can cause acid reflux symptoms, increasing your risk of ulcers, infection, and esophageal cancer over time. Fortunately, exercising before breakfast means there's nothing sloshing around in your stomach that will trigger reflux symptoms when you start moving.

Better Workouts

After a long day, it’s often hard to imagine adding yet another task to your schedule, making workouts seem like a chore. However, in the morning, when your mind is clear, the pressures of the day to come haven’t yet gotten to you, and you have some space to yourself in the gym, it’s easy to get into a groove that allows you to work out longer and more effectively than you would at a packed workout class later in the day.

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Fewer Cold and Flu Symptoms

Kiss those winter cold and flu symptoms goodbye by adding a morning workout to your routine today. Researchers at the Medical University of Graz have determined that vitamin D, which is most bioavailable from sunlight, can help diversify the good bacteria in your gut, keeping your immune system strong and effective at fighting disease.

More Creativity

Think exercise and creativity are unrelated? Think again! Research published in Frontiers in Neuroscience reveals that individuals who exercised regularly scored higher on creativity tests than their sedentary counterparts, which can vastly improve work productivity and satisfaction for those in creative fields.

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Improved Insulin Sensitivity

Move over, weight loss; insulin sensitivity is the name of the game when it comes to healthy living these days. The combination of early morning sunlight and exercise can improve your body’s insulin sensitivity, helping you shed those extra pounds in no time. Researchers in Belgium have found that exercising in a fasting state can improve insulin sensitivity, making it easier to lose weight, improve your body’s carbohydrate metabolism, and reduce your risk of diabetes.

Stronger Bones

Want to reduce your risk of fractures as you age? Start your day with a workout. Researchers at Lund University in Sweden have deemed exercise an effective means of increasing the strength of your bones, and the boost of vitamin D you get from early morning sunlight can lower your risk of bone demineralization and fracture.

Improved Addiction Prognosis

Kicking a habit can be hard, but morning exercise can make you more likely to stick to your plan. Research published in Frontiers in Psychiatry suggests that exercise may improve recovering addicts’ long-term commitment to sobriety, and the boost of endorphins that are triggered by the combination of exercise and sunlight can make it easier to stay committed to your clean living plan.

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Increased Willpower

The “transfer effect” describes when behaviors from one part of your life begin to positively influence others, and morning exercise has a major transfer effect into other areas of your life. For those who kick off their day with some exercise, the willpower that it takes to strap on your sneakers instead of hitting snooze and grabbing a bagel can make it easier to find willpower in other parts of your life, both personal and professional.

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Healthier Skin

When you’re rushing to the gym from work, you’re bringing all the grit and grime that’s accumulated on your face throughout the day with you. For those who don’t have time to take off all their makeup prior to a workout, much of that face paint ends up mixing with sweat and dead skin to clog your pores, creating complexion issues in the process. Fortunately, for early morning exercisers, they’re starting their day with a freshly-washed complexion, reducing their risk of breakouts as compared those who favor an evening workout.

Decreased Anxiety

Instead of letting stress build all day long, nip it in the bud before it starts with a workout. Researchers at the University of Michigan Medical Center and the Rex Sports Medicine Institute have found that exercise can help reduce your anxiety, helping you tackle whatever the day throws at you stress-free.

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Reduced Colorectal Cancer Risk

Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States, but starting your day with a workout could change that. Research published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology reveals that increased vitamin D levels, like those you’d enjoy from adding some outdoor exercise in the A.M. to your schedule, can help reduce your risk of this potentially deadly disease, and weight loss helps lower your chances of developing the disease even further.

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Reduced Dementia Risk

Starting your day with some exercise could be the key to a healthier brain and stronger memory. Research conducted at the University of Muenster reveals that exercise significantly reduces your dementia risk, and all that blood flow to your brain can help reduce the inflammation and tissue loss that often goes hand-in-hand with a dementia diagnosis.

Reduced Seasonal Depression Risk

Making a morning workout part of your regular routine can help you fend off those seasonal blues. Spending some time in the morning sunlight, whether you’re taking a run outside or just walking to the gym, can help reduce your risk of seasonal depression, and virtually any form of exercise can help boost your mood.

Lower Diabetes Risk

Anyone looking to reduce their risk of diabetes would be wise to add morning exercise to their routine. According to the Diabetes Prevention Research Program Group, exercise is an effective means of lowering your type 2 diabetes risk and researchers at the University of Alberta have linked increased vitamin D levels to lower blood sugar and improved insulin sensitivity. When you add in the BMI benefits of morning sunlight, it’s clear that an early morning workout can mean major positive changes for your health.

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Reduced Risk of Cancer-Related Death

While more than one-third of men and women will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lifetime, adding exercise to your A.M. activity list can help improve your chances of surviving. Research published in the Journal of Cancer Survivorship reveals that exercise can help reduce your risk of having a cancer diagnosis become fatal, and there’s ample evidence that vitamin D can reduce your risk of colorectal cancer, too.

Increased Sense of Accomplishment

Starting your day with a workout can improve your self-esteem and make you feel like you’ve accomplished something long before many of your peers have even gotten out of bed. It’s pretty unlikely that scrolling through Instagram and pushing your alarm back in 10-minute increments will yield a similar result.

Improved Workout Results

If you want your workout to be more effective, try moving it from evening to morning. Not only are you more likely to get a machine at the gym when you work out early, you’re more likely to stick to your routine when there’s nothing else to distract you, making it easier to reach your workout goals in a timely manner.

Better Sleep

Morning exercise can help your body operate like a finely-tuned machine by adjusting your circadian rhythms, making it easier to get out of bed in the morning and fall asleep at night. While working out can give you great energy throughout the day, exercising in the morning is unlikely to keep you up when you’re trying to hit the hay, while an evening workout often leaves exercisers too amped up to fall asleep.

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A Longer Life

Living a long healthy life is a major goal for most of us, but our lifestyle choices seem to be working against us. Fortunately, adding a morning workout to your routine can lower your BMI, your body fat percentage, reduce your risk of chronic disease, and may even make you happier, setting you up for better health and a longer life.

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