I’ve only been at this blogging thing a month, but I think it’s already clear that I am a morning exerciser. I do my strength training and an occasional run in the afternoons, but my best and most consistent exercise is in the morning. This won’t be the last time that I pay homage to my love of daybreak sweat-breaking.
However, winter certainly presents challenges. Particularly in the form of darkness. The weather doesn’t help, but I actually like cold weather running. It’s the thought of doing it in complete darkness with no hope of sunlight for at least another two hours that can be discouraging.
That’s why I was thrilled to notice the difference in daylight between the start of my yoga classes at 6 am and their end a little after 7 am. Here are before and after shots from Friday’s session (I’m trying to be much better about pictures and provide some excitement here):
That bit of weak daylight is already making a huge difference in my exercise mentality. I felt much more alert and ready for the day. I also felt like I made a better connection with my practice that morning and that I truly achieved an invigorating work-out with all its associated benefits.
Just a small change in sunlight did that for me. And I’m in the habit of doing this.
So, I have some advice for anyone who wants to try to transition to a morning work-out schedule: Wait until the spring/summer, when the sun is up at a decent time. Daylight is a trigger for your brain to wake up. Without that trigger, I think it will be really difficult to look at getting up to exercise as anything but a chore if it’s not already ingrained in your brain, which is the exact opposite of what you want.
Sunlight will help your body better adjust to the idea that a work-out shortly after waking up is normal and actually beneficial. By the time winter and dark mornings roll around again, your body should be in the routine that goes a long way towards providing the motivation to heed the alarm, throw on warm clothes and run through darkness.
So if you have been struggling with trying to work-out in the morning in the depth of winter, don’t be too hard on yourself. Make it easier on yourself and try again when there’s sunlight to provide some extra support.