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When is the Best Time to Workout?

Exercise is incredibly beneficial, not just for your body but also for your mind. If you would like to increase these benefits by at least 10x, then you need to workout at the right time of the day. Sounds cool, right?  

I was among those who workout late in the evening. I thought that the timing wouldn’t play a big role in achieving my lean and healthy body.

But I was totally wrong. My views changed when I stumbled upon 100s of research studies that discussed the benefits of working out in the morning. This is because doing your workouts first thing in the morning has life-changing benefits. For example, the time you choose to do your workouts impacts your sleep, mood, learning ability and even appetite.

I’ve been enjoying these benefits and I want you to enjoy them too.

Here are the 4 major scientific reasons to workout in the morning:

Morning workouts help you sleep better

It goes without saying that sleep is necessary for a healthy mind and body. Getting a good sleep isn’t just an option, rather it’s an obligation we have towards our body.

Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said, “…your body has a right over you, your eyes have a right over you…” (Sahih Buhary).

So how can you get the sleep that you need? Latest research suggests that morning workouts help us sleep better. A study conducted by the Appalachian State University found that working out in the morning is ideal if you want to get the best sleep at night. Researches tracked the sleep patterns of participants who worked out at a three different times: 7am, 1pm or 7pm.

The results of this study were astounding: morning exercisers slept longer and they spent 75% more time in the reparative deep sleep cycle than the other two groups.

What this means is that getting a longer deep sleep cycle is more important for your health than the total time of your sleep. And the increase in the deep sleep leads to a better body and a longer life, bi’idnillah!

Morning workouts improve your learning ability

In the outstanding book Spark: How exercise will improve the performance of your brain, Dr. John Ratey describes how physical activity sparks biological changes in the brain. Based on neuroscientists’ discoveries, he argues, “Exercise provides an environment in which the brain is ready, willing and able to learn.” He also cites interesting research that was done in a high school in the United States. This particular high school wanted to find out whether the morning workout before school would give their students a boost in reading ability and in other subjects.

The results were outstanding. Kids who worked out in the morning showed a staggering 17% improvement in reading and comprehension. Did you say, “wow”?

There is no better brain enhancement drug than exercise!

Morning workouts improve your mood

We know smiling is a beautiful sunnah. And to perform this sunnah from our hearts, we certainly need to be in a good mood.

Here is the thing, physical activity as one of the first things you do in the morning helps you to improve your mood and focus. It also helps improve your self-esteem, motivation and attention to details. Those are quite a lot of benefits that come from simply changing the timing of your workout!

And what an excellent way to start your day, right?

Neurotransmitters such as serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine influence a host of things in our mind and, in particular, they regulate our mood, anger, aggressiveness, attention and even our satisfaction. Exercise elevates these neurotransmitters and helps us along the way to improve our mood.

Morning workouts help to buffer the daily stress

Stress is bad for us and we know it. As much as we want to avoid stress, we have, at times, no control over it. Though we may never be able to avoid stress in our lives, we can shield ourselves from the harmful effects of stress.

That shield is called exercise (and of course the remembrance of Allah, but that’s a separate topic for another day, insha Allah)

Many studies have shown that people who exercise are less prone to stress-related disorders. This is because exercise helps to buffer the effects of everyday stressors.

The implication of exercise goes beyond stress. The research lead says, “If you exercise, you’ll not only reduce your anxiety, but you’ll be better able to maintain that reduced anxiety when confronted with emotional events.”

Perhaps the biggest benefit of all, a morning sweat session ensures that your workout is checked off first thing each day. I mean, how many times have you had the honest intention to work out in the evening, only to have to work late, be distracted by something else or just way too exhausted to move.

So, what positive steps are you going to take to work out in the morning?

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Within the framework of Islam and real-science, you’ve nothing to lose, except your fat!