We can all learn to love mornings
Says our yoga teacher Fern Ross
BLEEP! BLEEP! BLEEP! Snooze. Repeat until last possible moment. I hear you, and we’ve all been there. The alarm goes off, you’re exhausted, your eyes are sleep-crusted, your face is puffy and your limbs feel heavier than lead. All your good intentions go out the window. But have you ever heard anyone say they regretting getting up and doing exercise before work? No, me neither. As hard as it is to set your alarm that hour earlier and drag your weary self down to the studio/gym/around the park (delete as appropriate), you will always feel amazing once you’re done.
Now I have a confession: I am a yoga teacher who (whispers it) hates early mornings (ahimsa). I need my sleep. But I also know that when I do make myself get up and move, I start my day on an endorphin-filled high, ready to take on anything the world has to throw at me. I feel lighter, stronger, happier and – importantly – calmer. Researchers at the University of Bristol found that those who exercised before work were happier, more productive and less stressed than those who don’t. And that’s not all. Here are six more reasons why should you exercise before work.
- It boosts your metabolism
Studies have shown that people can burn up to 190 extra calories in the 14 hours after exercise, meaning that if you exercise before work, you keep on burning calories, even if you’re just sitting at your desk. So get up and fit in that workout.
- It increases your chances of sticking to a workout routine
Exercising first thing means you get your workout done and dusted before the day properly begins. The later you leave it in the day, the lower it falls in your priority list as work and unexpected errands take over. Doing it first thing means exercise never gets in the way of after-work drinks or seeing friends, so it doesn’t interfere with your social life either.
- It gives you loads of energy
Forget that massive cup of coffee (well, maybe just one) and turbo-boost your day by getting up and moving your body. A study by Cyclescheme found that those who cycle to work feel more creative, their productivity increases by 15%, and sick days reduce by 18%.
- It builds self-control and discipline
Working out in the morning gives you time to mentally set up for the day ahead and, because it is less likely to fall to the bottom of your priority list (see point two), it is more likely to become a habit. Moreover, this good habit will undoubtedly have a knock-on effect in other areas of your life, such as your diet, as well as improve your ability to compartmentalise and achieve a better work-life balance.
- It improves sleep
Want a better night’s rest? Exercise in the morning. Research has found that those who exercise at 7am sleep more deeply as their bodies have a healthy sense of fatigue come bedtime. Conversely, those who exercise in the evening can actually increase their production of adrenaline, thus reducing their ability to sleep.
- It makes you happier
Exercise triggers the release of endorphins - the hormones that make us feel happier. Ever notice how when you’re mid-workout, you suddenly go from hating it to feeling so euphoric that you don’t care that your muscles are burning? That’ll be the endorphins kicking in.
Fern Teaches Rise & Shine Yoga at The Honor Oak Wellness Rooms on a Tuesday morning: 07.00-08.00. Rise & Shine is a dynamic, creative class that synchronises movement with the breath. A fun, fast-paced practice that has something for everyone; from beginners to the more experienced yogi.