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Unexpected Side Effects of Working Out in the Morning, Say Experts

Who knew that a morning sweat makes you a tidier person?
FACT CHECKED BY Alex Daniel

If the first thing you when you wake up is reach for your phone, you're not alone. A recent survey by Cinch Home Services polled more than 1,000 Americans and found that half (49%!) can't help but scroll within minutes of waking up. Of course, it will come as no surprise to learn that roughly two in five of those respondents also admitted to feeling constantly stressed out. What's more, another 53% of people who check their phones immediately in the morning reported low levels of productivity throughout the entire rest of the day.

If this sounds like you, it's time for a better morning routine. Do you know what's a lot better than doomscrolling in the AM? Exercising.

Believe it or not, according to the same study, a significant portion of Americans (32%) name morning exercise as the most important part of their AM hours. Exercise was also named as the most integral morning habit among people who are happy with their job (75%) and those who consider themselves highly productive (68%).

Now, as for why exercising in the morning is so beneficial, it isn't exactly a secret that getting in a meaningful workout helps elevate your mood. When we break a sweat, our endorphin levels rise, which promotes a more positive outlook. You'll also reap all of the other obvious and well-known benefits of exercise.

But that's just the beginning.

According to countless studies, surveys, and health experts, you can expect a host of additional perks that come along with regular morning exercise that may have never seen coming. So read on to learn more about the unexpected (and welcome!) consequences of switching to AM workouts. And if you want to move your workout to before your first meal? See here for the Secret Side Effects of Exercising Before Breakfast, Say Experts.

1

You'll Actually Be a Cleaner Person

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Talk about a win-win. According to the previously mentioned poll, of Americans who exercise habitually in the morning, 69% report that their homes are always squeaky clean! Moreover, close to a third of adults who feel highly productive (which is linked to morning exercise) usually use a portion of their mornings to clean up around the house and get a head start on household chores and tasks.

The connection between AM workouts and cleanliness may be strengthened by planning out your exercise routine and outfit the night before. Over half (55%) of respondents who regularly prepare for their morning routine in advance also said their home is always clean. And for more great exercise advice, don't miss The One Major Side Effect of Walking Every Day, According to Science.

2

You'll Sleep Better

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Insomnia is all too common nowadays. If you've been tossing and turning more than usual lately, adding a morning workout to your daily to-do list may just remedy the sleepless situation. This is supported by a number of research projects. This study published in Sleep Medicine reports that a morning exercise habit helped a group of insomniacs improve their overall sleep quality and reduce the number of times they woke throughout the night.

Another study, this one published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, found that morning exercise promotes faster sleep onset and more time spent in deep sleep than evening exercise or no exercise at all. These benefits are likely linked to exercise's effect on the human body's natural body clock, or circadian rhythm. One study published in the Journal of Physiology concludes AM bouts of fitness help re-adjust our internal clocks so that we're especially alert during the day and extra ready for bed come nighttime. Do you want to sleep better? Make sure to Avoid This Exercise Mistake at All Costs.

3

You'll Burn Twice As Much Fat

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If your main motivator for working out is to trim fat, research indicates you should workout first thing in the morning before eating breakfast. One such study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism gathered a group of 30 overweight or obese men for a six-week exercise course. Notably, those who exercised before breakfast each day ended up burning double the amount of fat than others who worked out post-breakfast.

In summation, the study authors report that the pre-breakfast exercise group reaped "profound" health benefits because the morning exercise on an empty stomach helped their bodies better respond to insulin and maintain ideal blood sugar levels. Such benefits also mean a lower risk of both type 2 diabetes and heart disease. "Our results suggest that changing the timing of when you eat in relation to when you exercise can bring about profound and positive changes to your overall health," Dr Javier Gonzalez, of the Department for Health at the University of Bath, notes.

4

You'll Lower Your Cancer Risk

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A fascinating study published in the International Journal of Cancer reports that exercising between 8 AM and 10 AM is linked to lower risk of breast cancer among women and lower prostate cancer risk for men. This was no small research project either, encompassing nearly 3,000 people tracked for a number of years.

"This is the first population-based investigation identifying a differential effect of timing of physical activity on cancer risk with more pronounced effects for morning hour activity," study authors write.

These findings are ultimately preliminary, but still make a compelling case to opt for morning workouts over afternoon or evening gym sessions.

5

You'll Make Way Better Decisions Afterward

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Exercise and diet go hand in hand. We all know that a poor diet can sabotage a vigorous workout routine and vice versa, which is why it's so important to synchronize both physical activity and eating habits. Interestingly, one piece of research published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise finds that morning exercise can help us better resist tempting snacks and junk food.

A group of 35 women were shown various images of food following either 45 minutes of morning exercise or no morning exercise at all. Following a workout, the participants' "attentional response" to the food images decreased considerably on a neurological level. Study authors conclude that "a bout of MV (moderate to vigorous) exercise decreases neurologically determined food motivation." For more ways to start your day right, check out the Secret Side Effects of Meditating Just 12 Minutes Per Day, Says Study.

John Anderer
John Anderer is a writer who specializes in science, health, and lifestyle topics. Read more