It’s 6am and no-one stirs in my household – except for me and my dog who is already pacing outside, anticipating his daily outing. Five minutes later and I’m on my bike with dog attached and primed for a 20-minute ride through the nearby canefields. Getting up so early isn’t easy for someone who not so long ago could have effortlessly slept-in past 8am. So what motivates me to do it?

Here are a few of the reasons why I find myself out and about with my dog at the break of dawn:

1. If I linger in bed its only a matter of time before I’m awoken by my children and their list of demands. Getting out before they’re up allows me to start the day on my own terms. I get to savour my own space and do something I enjoy before the realities of life catch up on me.

2. Exercising at this time of day puts me in a good space for the rest of the day. Having that natural endorphin release so early helps raise my spirits and creates a ‘can do’ attitude about the day ahead. I also get a buzz to see my dog a lot happier and content about his day.

3. It’s a whole lot cooler at this time of the day. I live in the tropics and by 9am the sun is up and the heat can be overwhelming. Both the dog and I feel more refreshed and energized heading out for a ride in the early morning. Leave it any later and we’re both slowed down considerably thanks to the heat.

4. Experiencing the dawn break is energizing in itself. A sunrise can easily lift your spirits. The sky glows a salmon pink and the early morning rays gradually light up the world around you. Dew often sits on the grass and the scent of flowering plants seems stronger at this time of day. It’s as if the aromas of everyday life haven’t completely overpowered everything just yet.

5. By riding my bike with the dog I feel like I’ve already accomplished something in the day. It’s one less thing I have to squeeze in on my schedule of ‘things to do today’ list.

6. There’s far less traffic around at this time. My dog and I’m not competing for space on the roads so much and it makes for a more peaceful ride.

For me it’s more than just being out with my dog – it’s a quick pick-me-up that helps me tackle my day head-on with a far better attitude.

What time of the day to you exercise your dog? Does it help to raise your spirits?