Exercising First Thing in the Morning: A Lazy Person’s Guide


by The Health Sciences Academy — Get free science updates here.


Studies show that people can burn up to 20% more body fat by exercising in the morning on an empty stomach. That’s a fairly astonishing piece of research.

Furthermore, one recent study in April of this year at Northwestern University reports that a good way to prevent fat gain is to get morning light, no matter your physical activity level, caloric intake, sleep timing, age or season.

“If a person doesn’t get sufficient light at the appropriate time of day, it could de-synchronise your internal body clock, which is known to alter metabolism and can lead to weight gain,” said study senior researcher and neurologist Phyllis C. Zee, M.D.

But you are not an exercise person. You are not a morning person.

Despite that (and with the above studies in mind), you are someone who would like some guidance to exercising first thing in the morning.

If so, you’re in the right place. We’ve got you covered.

Listen up, we can do this!

But first, some things to consider.

If the most amount of activity you get done in the morning is showering, brushing your teeth and getting dressed, then you can be sure you’re driving your metabolism, mood, and motivation deeper into deficiency. That’s not cool.

And then – at the other end of the spectrum – we have the daunting NHS physical activity guidelines. They advise a basic 150 minutes of moderate activity and two or more days of muscle strengthening exercises per week. That’s a bit more than basic and little more towards preposterous, don’t you think?

But the truth is, doing any kind of activity for inactive/indifferent/lazy people will benefit their health.

This is especially true for those of us who have sedentary jobs that chain us into a seat all day (which is even worse for you than you think).

If you’re truly a lazy person, it means you don’t feel like exercising – particularly first thing in the morning.

Don’t force it right now

Let’s begin by adding some simple activity during the day. Then we’ll get to the morning.

Here are six right-off-the bat ways to get some activity during your day:

  1. Waiting for the kettle to boil? Don’t just wait, do these kitchen exercises recommended by the Australian Department of Health.
  2. Park your car farther away than usual from work/shopping and walk that extra distance.
  3. Hop off the bus or tube a stop or two sooner and walk that extra length of commute.
  4. Stay away from the lift – use the stairs when you can.
  5. Leave your desk when you take a break.
  6. Walk your pup.

In other words, be a better “biped” when appropriate.

By the way, did you know that office workers would burn an extra 30,000 calories a year by spending three hours a day standing up?

Okay, so let’s go back to the morning

You may not be a morning person, but you could be a morning exerciser. And you don’t have to be one of the peppy, bright crowd who rises effortlessly and laces up as soon as the sun peeks over the horizon.

Let’s guide you in on this one.

First, have you ever tried to exercise in the morning? What happened?

It’s getting motivated that’s the challenge for a lot of us. Recalling positive memories of an exercise experience is a great way to inspire you to move, according to a new study.

Also, preparing the night before can make exercise in the morning a whole lot easier. Can’t find your socks and trainers? Lay out your essentials before going to bed. And call it a night a bit earlier so you wake up well rested.

There are probably 101 ways written out there to encourage us to exercise in the morning. There are studies, suggestions, lists, and even intimidations. But what good are they if we just read about them? It’s the doing that matters, right?

So in suggesting a remedy here, let me share three viable, actionable things you can do as a lazy person who might be open to exercising in the morning.

1. Simple, free, and easy – walk

Like I mentioned earlier, walking is another way to build into your bank of movement. Even lazy people can do this.

We really are bodies that were born to walk. It’s simple, free and one of the easiest ways to get more active, lose weight and become healthier. Begin with really short walks, say 5-10 minutes, and go from there.

2. Meet your “older” self

A Stanford study showed that you’re more likely to change if you visualise your senior self and recognise that this future person is dependent on the current you.

So, have a good look in the mirror. Project yourself into the future about 25 years. Based on your indolent habits today, what is your future health? Compound the years and add up all your disinterest.

What’s one thing that scares the hell out of you that you can change now? Tomorrow morning, get up two minutes earlier, put on cheery music, shake your (still younger) body and get a sweat on.

3. Stop excusing yourself

Yes, that’s quite blunt.

But seriously, stop making excuses. Decide to make a small shift with regards to getting active and do it. You really can do it. Small shifts of improvement over time can make a difference.

At the end of the day (or at the beginning), exercise at any time is better than none at all.

Over to You

What do you think?

Are you a lazy, non-morning person or a lively, chirpy sparrow? Or do you float somewhere in between? And what about those around you?

Let’s hear about it in the comments section below – a great place to share your own tips and learn from each other!

And don’t forget to pass this onto someone who could use a morning boost.


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