Admittedly, I struggled with becoming an earlier riser and running first thing in the morning for many years. However, now that its become a habit of mine, I realize just how important it was to establish this (almost) daily routine for my health, happiness, mood, and performance.
Here is a list of ten benefits to running first thing in the morning.
1) Less Conflicts.
One of the main reasons for running first thing in the day is that there are relatively few things that will interfere with your workout. Unexpected things tend to pop up throughout the day. If you're able to get your workout in before any of those unexpected conflicts arise you'll be able to run more consistently on a daily basis. Evidence shows that 90% of people who exercise consistently do so first thing in the morning.
2) Improved Sleep.
A 2012 study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health found those who run regularly in the mornings showed an improvement in deep sleep. Subjective sleep quality, mood, and concentration during the day improved, whereas sleepiness during the day decreased. Conversely, since exercise stimulates your body, when you exercise at night, it becomes more difficult to fully relax and drift into peaceful sleep.
3) Enjoy the Peacefulness Of the Morning.
The early morning to me, is the most peaceful time of the day. The paths are moist with dew, it's calm and quiet, a light blanket of fog is lifting off the water, the birds are singing a soft chorus in the background. Being out there to witness the sun rising above the horizon is truly worth getting up early for all by itself.
4) Increased Metabolism Throughout the Day.
Running in the morning will jumpstart your metabolism early in the day and keep it higher for hours afterward. This means that you'll be burning a greater amount of calories, not only during your run, but throughout the day as well.
5) Enhanced Mood Throughout the Day.
According to a 2012 study published in The Journal of Experimental Biology, running will boost your spirits and make you feel more positive. Runners actually have attested to the alleged "runner's high," which is the feeling people get after they've finished a good job or run. Endurance activity is suspected to lead to an increase in the brain chemicals that signal pleasure.
6) Enhanced Fat Burning.
Several proponents of working out first thing in the morning on an empty stomach argue that it stimulates increased fat burning. This is due to the fact that your glycogen stores are low forcing your body to rely heavily on fat storage to fuel your workout, as opposed to burning carbohydrate for its energy.
7) Increased Alertness Throughout the Day.
Running can increase your mental clarity for four to 10 hours post-exercise. It will raise heart rate and increase the flow of oxygen-rich blood throughout the body, including the brain. A 2013 study published in the journal Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience found aerobic exercise, like running, improves brain function and cognition in healthy aging adults. The study found that it led to an increase in brain blood flow to the hippocampus which is the primary brain region affected by Alzheimer's disease.
8) Increased Productivity Throughout the Day.
You will be more awake and ready to tackle your day by giving yourself that extra energy boost. I personally feel more energized throughout the day when I run in the morning, which leads to more creativity and productivity in my other daily activities.
9) A Great Time for Thinking and Planning Your Day.
The peacefulness described above can be the perfect setting for starting out your day. It's the perfect time to sort out and clarify your thoughts and to plan for the activities and events you have later on. For many people, this peaceful time every morning becomes something they look forward to. Time for themselves to think, take care of their body and mind, and just relax before starting the day.
10) Less Pollution and Heat.
By getting out the door early you're cutting out much of the exhaust and other contaminants released by all the cars, buses, and other vehicles in the morning rush hour. These pollutants not only have the tendency to accumulate in your system over time, but also make breathing during your runs more difficult. Additionally, you'll get out there when the sun is not beating down on you and the temperatures are relatively cool. The cooler temperatures make for an easier, more enjoyable, and more intense workout.
Excerpted from http://www.asimplerunner.com