Added Benefit: Improves Sleep
Start your day with a cardio workout and kiss restless nights good-bye. Researchers asked men and women age 30 to 60 to walk on a treadmill for a half hour, three times a week, at three different set times: 7 a.m., 1 p.m., and 7 p.m. Turns out, when the group did their walk at 7 a.m., they slept better and more efficiently, according to a 2014 study published in Vascular Health and Risk Management. What does that mean? “They had longer deep sleep, which is reparative, and less light sleep,” says Scott R. Collier, Ph.D., a study investigator and an associate professor of exercise science at Appalachian State University, in Boone, North Carolina. Morning exercise clears out stress hormones, so your day feels less stressful, and that leads to better sleep at night. As a bonus, morning exercise lowered blood pressure by 10 percent.
Timing is Everything: Keep that morning walk a part of your daily routine. But know that this a.m. magic does not apply to all workouts. For example, strength training improves sleep best if it’s done in the afternoon or evening, according to another of Collier’s studies, published in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research in 2015.