When it comes to cardio and strength training, barely 20% of adults get the recommended amount of physical activity each week. If you look at the number of parents who meet minimum exercise goals, that number drops even more.

We get it – between juggling multiple schedules and that nagging mom guilt that kicks in when you try to do something for yourself, setting up a consistent workout schedule drops down on the priority scale. Let’s change that!

Exercise isn’t a “want”…it’s an actual “need”. Our bodies are designed to function best when we move! Here are seven solid reasons to make exercise a priority, and why morning is the ideal time to do it.

#1 Endorphin Rush

An early morning workout sends you off into the day with a lifted mood and the power to better handle anything thrown your way. Exercise triggers a release of endorphins into the body. This helps decrease anxiety and increase your ability to manage stress.

You’ll have a sunnier disposition and a jolt of self-esteem. Endorphins also help you sleep more soundly, increasing your chances of waking up tomorrow well rested and ready for your next workout.

#2 Fewer Distractions

Early mornings mean fewer distractions, making it easier to stay on track. For busy moms, mornings are when you can carve out a little guilt-free “me time” before the kiddos are awake.

Other benefits of a.m. exercise – If you’re heading to the gym or local trail, you’ll avoid the crowds. This way you’re less likely to run into your neighbor or anyone else who might stop the flow of your workout with small talk. Folks who opt to rise and shine early don’t set their alarms to waste time chatting. They are up to focus on their regimen. Early mornings are also a slower time for electronic communications such as calls, texts and emails, keeping distracting alerts at bay. 

#3 Time Management

Let’s face it; there will never be enough hours in the day to cross off every item on your to-do list. But planning your work out first thing in the morning can actually help with time management. How, you ask?

Well first off, you’ll avoid interrupting your afternoon flow with a trek through rush hour to get to the gym. Plus, with fewer people at the gym, you’ll spend less time waiting for your favorite machine to open up. A morning sweat session also frees up your mind because you won’t waste time the rest of the day worrying about how you’re going to get in a work out.

Bonus: You’ll start the day with a sense of accomplishment, knowing at least one objective has been completed. Who doesn’t want to set a productive tone for the rest of their day?

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#4 Metabolism Boost

Can’t live without a mid-morning snack? You can alleviate a little bit of that guilt with an a.m. check-in at the gym. Not only do you burn calories during your session, your body continues to perform with a boosted metabolism for hours afterwards. Even better? Exercise can help reduce your sweet tooth cravings, meaning you might just forgo that snack all together.

#5 In The Glow

Forget a drawn-out, expensive skin care routine to get that morning glow; a trip to the gym does wonders for your skin and all it costs is a few beads of sweat. Blood flow is increased during your workout, resulting in oxygen and other viable nutrients being carried to skin cells while removing free radicals and other waste. Increased circulation leaves your skin with a vibrant, healthy glow throughout the day. Makes you want to do a few push-ups, doesn’t it?

#6 Full Focus

With a full day ahead of you, it can be tempting to skip the gym altogether and dive right in. However, you’ll get more done in the coming hours if you begin the day with movement.

Exercise increases focus, keeping you from feeling scattered-brained or overwhelmed when you are pulled in every direction. You’ll also be more likely to remain alert and on task later in the day when the afternoon slump often sets in.

#7 No Excuses

When you work out in the morning, potential late-day excuses will no longer deter you. I mean, come on moms…how many times does an unexpected situation throw off your afternoon? Meetings that run late, can’t-miss kids’ activities, or a calendar full of events can easily become excuses to put off your workout “just for today.” And then today becomes tomorrow, and you’re trapped in a vicious cycle of skipping the gym.

Knocking out your sweat session first thing in the morning means fewer justifications to skip out later. Morning exercisers tend to be more consistent then their late day counterparts. And when it comes to seeing results, consistency is key.

So what are you waiting for? Lay out your clothes the night before, set that alarm, and get your butt out of bed and moving first thing! Getting used to a new workout schedule takes a little time and commitment, but once the habit is set – you’ll reap the rewards.