With top CEO’s and marathon runners included in those who exercise before the work day begins, we take a look at the pros and cons of going for that morning run.

Exercise before the working day begins has been championed by top CEO’s including Mark Zuckerberg, Tim Cook and Richard Branson.

Cook is reportedly in the gym at around 5 am every morning, and Richard Branson says he starts the day by either playing tennis, going for a run or kite surfing.

“I definitely can achieve twice as much by keeping fit,” Branson told FourHourBodyPress.

But is giving up the extra sleep worth it when a work out can be fit in after work or even during a lunch time break?

It’s hard to deny the impact of working out on productivity, but not everyone has the double digit work-days of some top bosses.

The London Marathon- which takes place this Sunday- is a testament to the benefits of training with responsibilities. Some 40,000 runners will take to the streets of the capital for the 26.2 mile run and many have trained for months.

Is going for a jog in the morning  more worthwhile than in the evening? We’ve had a look at the pro’s and cons.

Pro: It sets you up for a good day ahead

“Morning exercise boosts our mood and mental alertness for the day ahead,” says sportsshoes.com’s in-house expert Melody Vassey. “There’s a reason so many people swear by it.

“It also sets up a domino effect, whereby we’re more likely to opt for healthier choices and eating habits for the rest of the day.”

A seperate study, carried out by the University of Bristol linked exercise to higher work performance, time management and mental sharpness- all benefits that are worth reaping before- rather than after- a work day.

Con: Energy levels aren’t always at their peak in the early hours.

“Energy levels are lower in the morning which makes it harder to maintain intensity, and if you’re not naturally a morning person, there’s a danger you’ll miss your session altogether,” continues Vassey.

“Body temperature and blood flow are also lower, meaning you’ll need to spend more time warming up. Exercising in a fasted state before breakfast may also result in muscle loss as well as fat.”

Sleeping is, on average, an eight-hour fast, which is likely to negatively impact on morning workout performance too. A study from the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that runners who had fasted were not able to run as far or fast when compared with runners who had eaten.

Pro: It’s convenient

“Even the most dedicated exercisers will find difficulty fitting in a workout, which is why getting it done and dusted first thing in the morning is the most beneficial and constructive way to utilise your time,” says Liam Mahoney from Grenade.

“If you put it off and tell yourself you will do it after work, you might find that things often come up or that you are too tired by the end of the day to motivate yourself to get it done.”

By associating running with waking up, there’s also a good chance that it could develop as a healthy habit. According to a study from the European Journal of Social Psychology, it takes and average of two months  to build up a habit- It’s one of the healthier habits to form.

Con: It’s Increased health risk

Going straight from your bed to a run can mean that you’re not totally awake when heading out. Not only might you be tired- which decreases awareness of your surroundings- but that there’s also a risk of doing damage to your health.

Cortisol, a stress hormone that suppresses the immune system, was found to be lower in the evenings than mornings.In a study from the Sports science department at the University of Brunel, scientists compared the cortisol levels of swimmers working out in the morning and evening.

Levels of Haemoglobin- which helps the body to fight off infections -  were also found to be lower in the mornings.

“Exercising in the morning could possibly increase susceptibility to infection compared to an afternoon training session,” said Dr Lygeri Dimitriou, who led the study.

 

Seems as though there are as many benefits to running in the morning as there are in the evening.