Your Weight-Loss Solution: Exercise in the Morning

By James Beckerman, M.D.

While getting adequate sleep is an essential part of any healthy weight-loss plan, there may be advantages to setting that alarm for the early morning and getting your exercise in first thing.

Here are a few advantages:

1. You get it over with. There’s nothing better than getting home after a hard day at work and then settling down to relax, or enjoying time with your kids, because you know you already got your exercise in that morning.

2. More efficient fat burning. When you exercise on an empty stomach, your body doesn’t have any stored sugars to provide fast energy to your working muscles, so you tend to burn proportionally more fat. When you exercise later in the day, you tend to burn more sugar. You will burn similar numbers of calories regardless of when you exercise, but you may experience different long-term results in your overall body composition if you exercise earlier in the day.

But one word of warning: Early-morning exercise can make you more prone to injury. Your body temperature is lower in the morning than in the afternoon, and this may increase the risk of injuring muscles. Also, exercising later in the day gives you a chance to stretch out naturally over several hours, and some would argue that this decreases your risk of muscle injury.

Regardless of how or when you exercise, talk with your doctor first to make sure it’s safe for you.

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