While any time is a good time to work up a sweat, there might be some perks to getting your cardio done first thing in the morning. If you know anything about your biological clock, it’s probably that your cortisol levels are higher early in the day. It’s what helps your body wake up and feel alert.
Neuroscientist Allison Brager, PhD, told the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) that the morning a great time to do your cardio. “Cortisol allows for the recruitment of energy reserves, glucose, and especially fats, making cardio much easier to complete and making it much easier to push to a higher level of performance aerobically,” she said.
Working out according to your biological clock isn’t just something neuroscientists know is a great plan—it’s also something trainers recommend. “Our bodies tell us how we feel and when we function at our best. The idea of being an early bird or night owl is not a just a phrase. Our biological clocks influence when we feel most prepared to perform,” says Ash Wilking, Nike master trainer and Rumble instructor. If you can wake up and head to the gym after waking up in the morning, you’ll do your body good and start your day on a high note because of it.
If you want to clock your cardio in the morning, Wilking says you’ll want to start by spending some time preparing your tired, groggy body. Then you can go into your workout which, BTW, doesn’t have to be anything crazy in order to see the payoff. “Should you choose to do any workout in the morning, it’s incredibly important to properly warm up with active stretches,” she says. “Ramping up cardio with 10 minutes on the StairMaster, for instance, versus jumping into a HIIT workout full of burpees can make a significant difference in terms of preventing injury and getting you the maximum benefits from your early-morning sweat session.”
Checking cardio off your list without having to do a single burpee? Yep, sounds like a plan.
Before you start your morning cardio, try this running warm-up:
Work up a sweat with this 10-minute dance-cardio series. Then try cardio yoga, which is hands-down the best full-body workout you can ask for.
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