Studies suggest that people who exercise in the morning may have better odds of achieving weight loss goals and boosting other aspects of overall health.
A morning workout can get anyone fired up and ready to face a new day. But exercise early in the day may also boost both weight loss efforts and a person’s overall health.
Skipping breakfast before a morning workout may help people lose weight, according to a recent study of cyclists by European researchers, including those at the England’s University of Birmingham.
Typically, the body of an exerciser uses stores of carbohydrates to provide the fuel necessary for a good workout. But fitness buffs who work out before they have eaten have lower carbohydrate reserves, forcing the body to burn fat to generate energy, according to scientists.
Proponents of early morning exercise say this burning of fat reserves helps exercisers achieve a slimmer waistline.
Study Supports Weight Loss Theory
The cyclist research seems to bear out this theory about the value of exercising before eating. In the study, a group of cyclists who fasted before cycling burned a higher proportion of fat to carbohydrates when compared to a group of cyclists who ate something prior to riding.
Other studies have arrived at similar conclusions. However, not everyone is sold on the theory that fasting is a good idea prior to exercise. Critics say fasting hampers performance levels during a workout.
Other skeptics say fasting exercisers may compensate for skipping their pre-workout meal by eating more than normal after they finish exercising, thus negating any weight loss benefit associated with fasting prior to the activity.
Other Benefits of Morning Exercise
Experts previously have suggested that a morning workout can be helpful in other ways:
- Several years ago, researchers at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver reported results of a study suggesting that morning exercise can lower triglyceride levels throughout the day. High levels of triglycerides raise the risk of heart disease.
- Research by scientists at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle found that older women have fewer complaints regarding poorly sleeping if they rode a bike or did moderate walking for at least 45 minutes, five days per week.
- Australia’s Black Dog Institute (affiliated with the University of New South Wales) advocates morning exercise as a great pick-me-up “for those with a melancholic depression and experiencing a distinct lack of energy.”
So, while the evidence is far from conclusive, there may be a good reason to think that morning exercise can provide the extra edge needed to achieve weight loss and general health goals.