Rise and Shine: The Benefits of Early Morning Exercise for Older Adults
Most of us aren’t so crazy about getting up at the crack of dawn for fun things, let alone exercise (not that we don’t think exercise is fun, of course). But it turns out that there are a number of benefits to getting your exercise in early in the day. Your aging loved one might be a morning person, or maybe not so much. Whatever his/her routine might be, early morning exercise might be worth considering. Why? Check out these four reasons and see why you might want to encourage an older adult in your life to give it a shot… Or maybe try it out yourself!
“I Have Too Much to Do”
A big barrier to getting enough exercise is often the fact that it can be hard to fit it into a daily schedule. But if you get used to working out in the morning, you’re way less likely to have the excuse of things just popping up. People who work out in the morning have shown to stick to their exercise plans better than people who plan to exercise later in the day. For an older adult who enjoys a busy routine with lunch outings, volunteering, family visits, or other commitments, an early morning fitness plan can mean exercise gets crossed off the list first.
Increased Focus and Acuity
Exercise has been proven to increase mental focus and acuity for up to ten whole hours post-workout. If you’re squeezing in your exercise regimen later in the day, you’re not taking full advantage of those ten hours. An A.M. workout (geared toward your loved one’s abilities) means that both your brain and body are in good shape all day. This can be especially helpful for older adults who are striving to keep their brains sharp and cognitive functioning skills active.
A Healthy Weight
If you’re working out to shed some pounds, it looks like the morning is the optimal exercise time for you too. An early trip to the gym has been shown to result in fewer food cravings throughout the day. Perhaps even better, working out in the morning means that your body will burn calories faster and more efficiently throughout the day. Combine that with nutritional foods and you have the perfect workout. For older adults who need a little extra help managing their weight, this can be a great strategy.
A Healthy Attitude
Exercise releases feel-good compounds like endorphins that improve your mood and energy levels, an effect that can last well into the afternoon if you get your workout in early. Plus, exercising in the morning can help you sleep better than if you work out later in the evening, since you’re not getting that extra energy boost as you’re trying to settle in for the night. We could all benefit from a better night’s sleep, right? If your aging loved one needs a boost emotionally, or perhaps a bit more motivation to stay active, ask if he/she would be willing to give an early morning exercise routine a try and see how it goes!
- Early morning exercise can help your aging loved one stick to his/her goals to stay active and well before daily plans get in the way.
- A morning exercise routine can help keep your loved one’s brain and body healthy with increased mental focus.
- In addition to helping with weight management, morning exercise can help improve mood and energy levels and may even assist with a better night’s sleep.
About Dianne Terrace | MS, CPT
Director, The Wellness Center at Wesley Village. I am an AFAA Certified Personal Trainer who specializes in training older adults and clinical clients. I work with private clients as well as my many clients at the Wellness Center at Crosby Commons, on the Wesley Village Campus in Shelton, CT. I have combined my training in strength and balance work with a modified Pilates Method that I have adapted for older adults. I am also a Certified Yoga Instructor trained by Lara Ward of Lotus Garden Yoga in Sharon, CT and I teach the Ultimate Core Ball Challenge as part of the Yale University Mat Pilates Program.
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