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6 Benefits of Running in the Morning on an Empty Stomach

Running is a form of an aerobic exercise of the body. As we all know, running plays a huge role in the betterment of your overall health. It keeps you physically fit and mentally fresh.

Here we are going to discuss about the benefits of running on empty stomach in the morning.

Shift of Fuel Source

The time of your run decides the source of fuel your body is going to use. Our body is programmed to generate energy from various sources for any kind of exercise or run.

When you go for a run after having your morning meal, your body uses the carbohydrates stored in your muscles and liver which we call GLYCOGEN. It can definitely power you through a few miles.

When you go for a run on an empty stomach your body goes for alternative sources to fetch energy from other energy reservoirs.

Generally, fat is the major source that the human body stores for low-intensity exercises.

Tip: Research shows that when you jog or run at a lower intensity, your body derives the energy from fat rather than carbohydrates.

As a result, people who work out without having breakfast tend to burn more fat than the people who workout after having breakfast since running on empty stomach will shift the energy source to fat which is also termed as ‘Fat Burn’ or ‘Oxidation’.

In a study conducted in 2015, 10 male participants were observed during fasted running. It was noted that their running workout increased fat oxidation in their body over the period of 24 hours.

In a similar study conducted in 2017, same results were found with 9 female participants. According to the scientists, low carbohydrate levels were responsible for this response of the body.

According to them, lower levels of carbohydrates are responsible for stimulating the genes in-charge of controlling fat oxidation.

However, the study is quite conflicting. According to a study conducted in 2018, running on an empty stomach burned less fat when compared to running after having a pre-workout meal.

Whereas another review study conducted in 2020 showed no direct relationship between these two.

Hence, this matter is quite contradictory.

A Great Contribution to Weight Loss

Since your body runs on fat on an empty stomach; weight loss doesn’t fall far from it. Aerobic exercise like running or cardio goes hand-in-hand with weight loss.

According to a research publishes in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, it was found that running or having an aerobic exercise before having your meal burns twice the fat when compared to the fat burn after having a meal.

As we know, every living being uses food as fuel to do daily work. Even if you want to lift a finger you need energy for that. But weight loss depends on the source of energy used.

If you have eaten beforehand, the energy comes from glucose stores. However, when on empty stomach, having lower glucose stores, your body often switches to fatty acids store house for fuel.

Although one burns the same number of calories be it on glucose or fat reservoirs. But only fat burning will help you in losing significant weight and gives your muscles a better definition.

The Aerobic Benefits

It is claimed by many runners that they have experienced aerobic improvements after going for a run without having their breakfast.

A small research in 2010 was conducted in the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport debated that running on empty stomach correlated to improvement in performance and physical fitness since your body’s oxygen efficiency is improved.

It is associated with higher VO2 max which refers to the maximum oxygen uptake during intensive workout. It indicates a measurement of aerobic endurance together with overall fitness.

It increases your aerobic endurance.

However, it is still not confirmed with assurance since the study only has 14 participants and needs further research over this matter.

Feeling of lightness

No one wants their meal to jostle around in their stomach while you want to cover some extra miles to make your morning run productive and efficient. Having no food in your belly before you go for a run makes you feel much lighter and active.

It boosts up your energy levels as there is no pressure from your insides on your body activity.

Prevents Nausea or Other Stomach related Discomfort

Many people feel nauseated during sunning if they have any liquid or solid food freely juggling around in their stomach. So it is best to avoid eating any food before you go around for a run.

If you feel you are low on energy and can’t do much without having something early in the morning, you can either go for a low-intensity jog or choose your food carefully that won’t give you any kind of discomfort while you are on run.

It may lead to other stomach or digestion related discomfort or issues. For example:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Intestinal cramps
  • Bloating

These symptoms are often seen in the athletes who have to run for long distance or need to train for longer durations.

Therefore, again, if you are prone to any of such symptoms or digestion issues then you might as well consider running on an empty stomach to avoid any discomfort.

Reduction in Energy Intake

When your blood and muscle glycogen gets depleted completely, your body makes a shift on your liver glycogen stores. According to a research, this shift of glycogen store affects the energy intake with the help of liver-brain neural network.

It also helps in losing weight while controlling your energy intake.

According to a study conducted in 2016, 12 male participants were observed who ran on an empty stomach. It was noted that they had consumed less energy over 24 hours.

In another small-scale study in 2019, again 12 male participants were again observed who did fasted running and gave the same results.

They also had low energy intake over 24 hours. The researches then connected this to the liver which is also a storage house for glycogen.

Hope you liked the health benefits of running in the morning on an empty stomach. 🙏

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