How Long Should You Wait After Waking Up To Start Your Morning Exercise?

One of the most effective ways to boost your overall health is by exercising. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, exercise can cut the risk of developing cancer, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. It can also improve mobility, strengthen bones and muscles, and boost mental health. To reap these benefits, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services suggests getting at least 150 minutes of moderately intense physical activity per week.

To clock the recommended amount of exercise each week while balancing a busy schedule, many people choose to squeeze their workouts into the morning hours. In fact, one 2018 survey by YouGov America found that the majority of Americans (50%) prefer to exercise in the morning. Besides being a popular choice, fitting in an a.m. sweat session is a good idea because it may help with appetite control, boost energy levels for longer, and lead to greater weight loss compared to working out during other times of day (per Healthline).

If you're new to morning exercise, you may need to leave extra time between waking up and working out for optimum results. Here's what to know before you get moving in the morning.

Avoid rolling out your mat just after rolling out of bed

If you're struggling to exercise right when your alarm goes off, that's okay. According to Mayo Clinic, it's best to wake up at least an hour before your workout to give yourself time to fuel up and digest before you start moving. Eating first — rather than working out on an empty stomach — may boost energy and improve performance, especially for strenuous exercises (per Healthline).

Additionally, it's important to leave time to warm up, regardless of what time of day you exercise. The Harvard Medical School explains that warm-ups slowly speed up the heart rate and breathing, pumping oxygenated blood throughout the body. This prepares muscles for the higher-intensity movements to come, reducing the risk of injury.

Cedric Bryant, chief science officer for the American Council on Exercise, agrees on the importance of warming up. He told AZCentral that exercising soon after waking up requires a long, gentle warm-up first. While a typical warm-up may only last five or 10 minutes, you'll likely need more time to get warmed up before going for a run or hopping on gym equipment if you only recently climbed out of bed.