Starting a running habit can indeed change your life. Moreover, it can help you stabilize physically, mentally, and emotionally through tough moments, and we’ve all experience those during the recent pandemic. But why do it early in the morning? Well, there are plenty of reasons to hit the track before the world wakes up.
The benefits of running in the morning are both physical and mental. Starting the day with an early morning run can set the tone for the day and improve your productivity. It can also reduce stress and improve your mood.
I am one of those lucky people who struggled with running initially but eventually found a routine that worked for me. Read on, because we’ll go deep into the (tested and true) benefits of running in the morning. Are you ready to change your life and feel better than you ever did before?
What are the physical benefits of a morning run
First off, we have to talk about the physical benefits of a morning run. Again, those of us who managed to succeed at sticking to this habit can tell you that there is no higher high than the runner’s high.
Getting this high first thing in the morning can be tricky if you have a busy life or young kids like I do. But it’s worth getting up early (yes even earlier than the kids!) to put in the miles.
- Set the tone for the day and improve productivity
Modernfamily life demands a lot from us every day. Looking after the kids, fulfilling chores, and excelling at our job (working from home!) is nothing but a standard day for most of us. Have you ever had the feeling you just want to shut the curtains and sleep for a week? Well, regular morning runs could change that.
When the first thing you do in the morning is going for a run, you allow your body to generate endorphins and adrenaline. These stay in your bloodstream for hours making all tasks you face after running easier and more pleasant. This might help you improve your daily productivity with a smile.
- Enhance your heart health and live longer
According to recent studies carried on 232,149 people through 35 years, the risks of dying from all causes for both sexes drops by 27% with any amount of running. Furthermore, researchers also found that the risk of death by cardiovascular diseases and cancer also dropped by 30% and 23% correspondingly.
So, fit a morning jog in your schedule before kids wake up and live a longer, healthier life. Who doesn’t like the sound of that?!
- Better sleep
Another great benefit of a morning run is that you will have to wake up earlier than usual. This, as a study from 2012 and another from 2014 indicate, will adjust your circadian rhythm and you will have a better night of sleep. Adding to that, subjects in the studies mentioned before were also benefited from a deeper level of sleep.
Better sleep at night will help you cope with everything that life demands from you. Plus, you’ll have more patience and time to play with your kids.
- Enjoy the best running weather
Depending on where you live in the world, some mornings are dark and others are light, particularly in the summer months. During the Summer, you’ll be able to enjoy the best weather for running, particularly if the climate is very warm during the day. Indeed, if you live in a place where you can go for a jog in nature, you’ll realize that your plans are less susceptible to inclement weather.
There is still much to be said from running before the sun comes up (like in Winter months). Often this is the quietest time of the day and Winter sunrises can also be spectacular!
- Appreciate nature at its best
Finally, another amazing benefit is that there are fewer people awake at the time you are running. Thus, you can experience nature at its best with no horns, car sounds, or any other disturbances.
Some of us find a great deal of relaxation hearing natural sounds, especially in the morning. For me, at least, a singing bird puts a smile upon my face every time I hear it.
What are the mental health benefits of a morning run?
An early morning run doesn’t only benefit your body, it also benefits your mind. Although we tend to look at them as separate entities, they have a cascading effect on each other. So, here are the mental benefits of a good morning run.
- Reduce stress
According to a recent study by the University of Maryland, running for 30 minutes can help alleviate stress. In the study, runners were shown stressful pictures and compared to another control group that instead of running, sat quietly for thirty minutes. Results showed that those who exercised presented lower stress levels than those who didn’t.
If you run in the morning, you might just alleviate all the stress piled up from the day before, your job, kids, chores, and such, and start the day with a fresh mind and a ton of energy. I can wholly testify this to be true and find my morning run clears my mind ready for the day.
- Improve your mood
We were talking above about what we call the “runner’s high” which is the reward our body gives us for the exercise in the shape of endorphins. Well, these are set loose in our blood and their effect lasts for a few hours during which you’ll have an increased sense of emotional strength to cope with regular life situations.
In other words, after the morning shower following your daily run, the morning routine of feeding kids and getting to work shall be much easier because of your enhanced emotional strength fueled by endorphins.
- Improve your sense of self-worth & self-esteem
The feeling of an accomplished task gives us a better grasp of who we are. Moreover, a steady routine can be felt like a success, and when the early running habit truly kicks in, you’ll feel empowered by it.
This can translate into an improved sense of self-worth because you are achieving a goal and can also boost your self-esteem. Plus, the fitness benefits of running will also make you look better, which adds to the self-esteem equation as well.
Besides the obvious fitness benefits of any physical activity, runners who wake up early in the morning receive a myriad of other paybacks. In my case, I used to struggle with mornings, kids, a bad sleeping habit, and a stressful job. I am not telling you that I solved everything since I started running, but I can tell you I feel I have more strength to cope with it all and enjoy life in a more fulfilling way.
Don’t let the world get to you and go for a morning run to start every day with a smile. In time, you’ll find out that there was more strength in you than you ever imagined.
Live your life at its fullest starting every day with a morning run.