With summer just around the corner lots of people are looking to lose a few kilos. Exercising before breakfast can encourage the body to start burning excess fat, and the body is able to switch into fat burning mode quicker on an empty stomach. If you try exercising on a full stomach you may feel heavy and uncomfortable, or may suffer from stitches. Exercising before breakfast also means the body does not have a lot of glucose in the system from recently digested food, so to provide fuel for the muscle cells, the body is more likely to reach for stored fat.
Many people go looking for a quick fix when it comes to weight loss, but honestly the best medicine is a healthy diet and exercise. One patient of mine has been walking on the beach for the last 4 weeks. She has been doing about 3-4km at a moderate pace, 5-6 days a week. In that time she has lost 3kg of fat, and put on 1.9kg of muscle. She has also reported feeling more energetic in the morning and has noticed improvements in her general mood and sleep. Which brings us to…
Melatonin is a hormone responsible for our sleep patterns, and works in response to light stimulation. Sunlight stimulates our pineal gland and helps to ‘turn down’ melatonin production and ‘turn up’ cortisol production. If you sleep in a completely blacked out room, you may not be getting a strong signal through sunlight to wake up for the day. This can cause you to feel groggy and tired, and can make getting out of bed and waking up quite difficult.
Getting out in the sunshine first thing of a morning, can help stimulate the pineal gland and help wake us up! It is best if you can exercise first thing of a morning without sunglasses to further this effect. Waking early can encourage healthy sleep patterns in general. Up early and in bed early is the healthiest sleep patterns you can have, so even if getting up an hour earlier is a little hard to adjust to, or you need to go to bed earlier to get enough sleep, you will actually be doing your body a favour.
Many people find that exercising of a morning gives their body a great energy boost. Exercise boosts endorphin levels and can give you a happy hormone rush, increasing mood and energy levels over the day. If you have adrenal exhaustion make sure you only exercise up to your body’s capability. Some days that might mean a slow walk, other days you might be able to move quicker. Listen to your body and always act with your best interest in mind.
Ah the benefits of morning exercise on the bowels! If you find yourself a little sluggish going to the bathroom, then some morning stretching and exercise might just be what you need! Yoga, walking, jogging and other stretching can all help to ‘wake up’ the digestive system and encourage the elimination of wastes.
Morning Dose of D
Beautiful morning sunshine is often gentle enough to go out in without the fear of getting burnt. Obviously everyone will have their own skin tone limit, but in general, the gentle morning sun is a great way to get your daily dose of vitamin D. Vitamin D is created on the surface of the skin after sun exposure, and needs 15 minutes to soak in and be absorbed by the body. If you go for a 30-45 minute walk without sunscreen, you are bound to absorb a healthy dose of D. This will depend as well on your geographical location. Up north, you might need to take a hat and some sunscreen to apply shortly into your morning exercise, where as down south you may find you can go for a hour or so in the sun without getting burnt. Either way, make sure you judge your sun exposure time to your location.
Over and Done With
A personal favourite of mine, is that usually by 7am I have finished my exercise for the day! This means no matter what happens during the day, if I get tired, or caught up at work, or if I decide to indulge, I have already done some healthy exercise! I have found that if I plan to exercise after work, I can often get stuck on the lounge or making dinner or going shopping and next thing I know, exercise just can’t be fit in for the day. Getting up that little bit earlier means I can relax of an afternoon, and I won’t feel guilty over being too tired to exercise after work.
Whatever your motivating factor, morning exercise comes with a wide range of benefits. Why not grab the dog, a walking buddy, the kids, or even just some good music and get outside today?