As I have gotten older I have had more success hitting my health and fitness goals by shifting my workouts to the morning. I have grown to appreciate the mornings and their lack of distractions and daily tasks which often interfere with later sessions. Exercising as the first task of the day reduces one of the most common barriers to health and fitness, a lack of time. Although the research on the best time of day to exercise is limited, and at times conflicting, it is clear exercising at any time of day is better than not exercising. A recent published article from a larger cohort study highlights those who rise earlier in the day may also have greater opportunities for physical activity than their later rising peers.
Nauha and colleagues in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports documented the relative times of physical activity and sedentary behaviors among recruited participants (2020). Authors classified over 5100 individuals by their self selected sleep cycles and tracked their activity levels over a 14 day period using wrist accelerometers. They reported higher levels of physical activity in the groups categorized by a morning or day awakening compared to their afternoon and evening peers. Further, the earliest risers demonstrated higher levels of physical activity and less sedentary activities compared to their peers. These results held up after adjusting for potential confounding variables found between groups. Although the study’s design does not demonstrate a cause and effect relationship, early birds may have more opportunities to get the physical activity they desire.