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7 compelling reasons you should wake up early to exercise

POSTED: June 21, 2014 8:00 a.m.
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It’s almost half-way through the year, and by now, most of you have probably forgotten what your New Year’s resolutions were.
The odds were not in your favor anyway — only 46 percent of you would make it to the six-month mark, and only 8 percent of you would achieve your resolution, according to Statistic Brain. One in three Americans are obese and only 20 percent of Americans are getting enough exercise every week, the CDC reported, so it’s vital for your health to find the time to work out.
But you already failed to make your New Year’s resolutions. You feel like you don’t have time in your already busy week. How do you fit in time to exercise?

Instead of hitting the snooze button one (or five) times, try getting up a little early to fit exercise in before you start your day. Here are seven great reasons you should wake up early to work out.

1. Better sleep
If your first argument against working out in the morning is because you need all the sleep you can get, then read this carefully. Exercise in the morning can help you sleep better at night, studies show. And you don’t need a two-hour workout to reap the benefits either — try a brisk walk around your neighborhood or ride a stationary bike while catching up on your TiVo queue. Better sleep can also help you lose weight.

2. Boosts metabolism
You can boost your metabolism with exercise. So if you hit the gym in the morning, your metabolism is working for the rest of the day. People who exercise in the morning can also burn more calories than people who exercise later in the day.

3. Lower BMI
Here’s a good reason to get outside and get moving: A new study found a link between natural light and lower body mass indexes. The study showed that people who went outside in bright, natural light between 8 a.m. and noon had better metabolisms than people who don’t spend any time outside until late afternoon or later.
“For every hour later in which an individual got the majority of their light exposure, that translated into 1.22 BMI units,” Dr. Phyllis Zee, a professor of neurology, told NBC News.

4. Improve your mood
Exercise releases endorphins and gives you extra energy, studies show. You can take that extra energy and be more productive during the day, with better mental clarity for up to 10 hours. Just 20 minutes of exercise can provide this boost.
"Exercise is the single best thing you can do for your brain in terms of mood, memory, and learning," Harvard Medical School psychiatrist John Ratey told US News.

5. Easier to schedule
It’s easy to make the decision to just go home and veg on the couch after a tiring workday. Get your exercise done in the morning so you don’t have to worry about last-minute conflicts.

6. Better diet
Exercise in the morning, decrease your cravings. A study showed that 45 minutes of moderate exercise reduced activity in the part of the brain that associated food with pleasure. If you’re a victim of the See Food Diet (See it, then eat it), your morning workouts can help you stick to your calorie goal.

7. Better long-term results
Another benefit to exercising in the morning is you’re more likely to be consistent with your workouts. Make it a routine and just get up with your alarm clock every morning.

"Think of your morning exercise like a business appointment — one you can't easily cancel," Dr. Gary Foster, clinical director of the weight and eating disorders program at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, told WebMD. "It takes discipline. But if you're overweight, you're at risk for a heart attack. If you don't do something about your weight, it's indirect self-destructive behavior. It's the same as smoking a pack of cigarettes daily. This has got to be the highest priority because it's your health."

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