A run in the morning is the perfect way to start the day.
If you run in the morning, you can give your body a healthy dose of oxygen. Your metabolism will be pushed to burn more calories.
The higher oxygen content in the morning air makes it easier to breathe, especially in the summertime. It’s also easier to run when it’s still cool compared to the midday heat.
You get it done and have the rest of your day to focus on all the other things you have to do, feeling good about the fact that you already got your exercise in.
Mornings might be the only time in your day when you can realistically squeeze a run in.
The endorphins and adrenalin that flow through your body post-run can wake you up, put you in a good mood, and set the tone for the rest of day. It never hurts to start your day on the good foot, literally!
Not many people prefer to run in the morning, because of the obvious reasons. But those who love morning runs say it gives them headspace — the roads are free from traffic and noise, and in the absence of a harsh sun, the run is enjoyable. Here’s what you gain from a morning run.
1. You lose weight and eat less
Weight watchers vouch for a morning run without breakfast as the body starts burning up fat in the absence of carbs and proteins to burn for energy.
If you usually eat a high-fat, high-calorie diet, running in the morning on an empty stomach will prevent weight gain and improve your glucose tolerance.
Also, a morning workout has been seen to reduce one’s motivation for eating through the day. And it keeps you more physically active. But that also means you need to eat a good breakfast right after! Are you eating these foods after a run?
2. You build muscles
Early morning is a good time if you want to build your muscles. Testosterone, the hormone for muscle growth, peaks between 5:30 and 8 am. But you need to eat a good protein-rich breakfast after the run. Otherwise, you’ll end up losing muscle mass.
3. Your mood gets better and you can beat depression
Most patients of depression complain they feel the worst in the morning. This is because levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, are the highest in the morning at around 8 am. Running can help with depression as it helps release mood-lifting hormones called endorphins. And this may show a more pronounced effect in the morning. But running at any other point of the day can also beat depression.
4. You bring down your blood pressure
A study has shown that running in the morning (6–8 am) can bring down the systolic blood pressure (the first number in your BP reading) during the day in patients with hypertension. It also brings down the 24-hour BP in dippers — patients whose blood pressure naturally dips at night.
If you have depression and high blood pressure, running in the morning can help. But a good warm-up is mandatory to avoid injuries or heart-related problems.
Another study on pre-hypertensive people proved that exercising at 7 am showed a 10% drop in blood pressure during the day and 25% during night. People who exercised at 7 in the morning also slept better than before.
Is evening a good time to run?
A run in the evening is a good way to relax.
Are you stressed out at the end of a hectic workday and have trouble unwinding? An easygoing endurance run can help you blow off some steam. Since your body is still in performance mode, you don’t need to warm up as much as in the morning. Plus, a relaxing evening run boosts your night-time fat burning.
You can workout when you want, and don’t have to miss any critical sleep time.
You will have eaten at least 2-3 meals and 1-2 snacks and consumed enough water to be adequately “fueled” giving you the energy you need to do a complete or more intense workout.
You’ve been on the move all day, so your body is warm, active, and limber from the day reducing your risk for injury, cramping, and/or susceptibility to aches and pains. Here’s what you gain from a evening run.
1. You build muscles better than morning runs
Afternoon runs build muscles better than morning runs do if you practice resistance training. As you know, both testosterone and cortisol levels are high in the morning, but the muscle-building effects of testosterone are negated by the muscle-wasting effects of cortisol at that time.
In the afternoon, the ratio of testosterone and cortisol is optimum for protein synthesis for muscle growth in response to resistance training. That means you can build better muscles by running outdoors or on an incline during the afternoon.
2. You run a lot longer
If you are training for long-distance runs, run in the afternoon. You have more fuel and peak lung capacity to sustain a longer run in the afternoon than in the morning. Afternoon runs help build your endurance as well.
3. You reduce the risk of injuries
Your raised core body temperature and energy stores ensure that your muscle strength and flexibility are at their peak during late afternoon. Also, your epinephrine and norepinephrine levels peak during noon. These make your heart pump and prepare you for a good run. These hormones also lower your pain sensation and boost your mood.
4. You fix a broken body clock
If you work in late-night shifts or travel across time zones, your circadian rhythm may be disrupted. Your body clock will not work according to natural day/night patterns, disrupting your sleep cycle. This can make you a likely victim of diabetes, obesity, and heart diseases.
If your sleep cycle is out of whack, run in the early evening to bring it back to normal rhythm.
A study on mice with a disrupted circadian rhythm showed that exercise fixed this problem, and exercises in the middle of their night — which is equivalent to our afternoon — had a stronger effect than those in the morning.
It is possible that running in the afternoon can help people, especially shift workers or the elderly, to regain their circadian rhythm.
5. You reduce your blood pressure
Evening too has some benefits. If you have high blood pressure, and it doesn’t go down at night like it should — that is, you are a non-dipper — exercise at 7 pm can reduce your systolic blood pressure at night. This benefit is seen more in non-dippers than in dippers. It’s also possible to lower diastolic blood pressure at night through evening exercise.