Work Out Early, Work Out Longer

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The early bird gets the burn.

The most important element of exercising is, of course, doing it. Work out, you feel better physically and mentally. Thing is, though, not everyone has the time or energy to work out first thing in the morning. Depending on your schedule, there may simply not be enough time to get a workout before you have to leave for work in the morning, or at least not a good one. It’s a mildly cruel twist of fate, then, that the early risers among us actually get better workouts at the crack of dawn, according to a particular study.

The study, published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports, asked 6,000 participants, men and women and all of whom had previously participated in some manner of health study, to wear a simple activity tracker for two weeks. After analyzing the amount of energy expended, the researchers noticed something interesting: the early risers of the group tended to expend more energy than the light-night crowd. Early-rising men tended to spend an extra 30 minutes exercising, while early-rising women tended to spend an extra 20 minutes.

So what’s the deal? The study’s lead, Laura Nauha, had a few theories. Her first was that people who are more active later in the day may have more energy to spare when it isn’t really a good idea to go jogging outside, such as when it’s pitch-black out. Sleep deprivation is another possibility, with those who stay up later and get less sleep simply lacking the spare energy necessary to exercise outside of their usual habits.

“Evening types may need to work harder to try to ensure they exercise,” Nauha concluded.

If you are a member of the Midnight Crew, though, don’t worry, because not all hope is lost. Experts concluded that it’s less about exercising first thing in the morning, and more about simply doing it whenever you’re at the peak of your energy for the day. Maybe that’s first thing in the morning, maybe that’s right after lunch, or maybe it’s right when you get off of work (as weird as that’d be). Whenever it is, as long as you get some exercise, you’re doing it right.