How you spend the first hours of your day can determine how the rest of it will go.There are so many advantages, both mentally and physically, to beginning your day with exercise. By incorporating a workout into your morning routine, you will set yourself up for success for the day ahead and can help yourself in the following ways:
- It will increase your productivity throughout the day. You will feel calm, focused and be able to make decisions quickly.
- It will help you combat stress. Exercise is a natural antidepressant and helps release the endorphins that make you happier.
- It will help manage blood sugar levels throughout the day, which in turn will help you sustain your energy.
- A study showed that exercising in the morning decreases your neurological response to seeing unhealthy foods.
- That same study found that exercising in the morning will make you move more throughout the day, increasing your overall level of physical activity.
- It will make you feel more confident. You will look better in your clothes and feel better about yourself in general. High self-confidence is key for high performance.
There are various ways you can exercise first thing in the morning and they will depend on your needs and preference. Start by committing to three days per week and build from there. Focus on the following:
A minimum of 15-20 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic exercise is recommended for improving heart health, maintaining a healthy body weight and for enhancing overall well-being. Moderate-intensity aerobic exercise such as power-walking, jogging, skipping, cycling and swimming are examples of aerobic exercise.
Squats, lunges, push-ups, hip bridges and planks are your essential five functional whole-body moves. They build effective strength and muscle tone. Spend 10-15 minutes performing each exercise for 60-90 seconds. Gradually increase your resistance with resistance bands, dumbbells or strength equipment.
You only need to stretch for three to five minutes. Try the following:
- Lift your arms overhead and interlace your fingers, pressing your palms up. Lean back slightly to extend your spine. Lift your chest and look up as you take a deep breath in, release your arms as you exhale and repeat two to five times.
- Lift one arm overhead (with the opposite hand on your hip for support), and lean over to the opposite side as you breath in and out. Return to centre and repeat on the opposite side. Perform this lateral spinal stretch two to three times each.
- Step one foot forward into a lunge position and lift both arms up and overhead in a "V" position. Hold the stretch with back heel down or up off the ground for five seconds while breathing slowly and deeply. Repeat on the opposite side. Perform this stretch two to three times.
Remember that Rome wasn't built in a day — if you are new to morning exercise, simply get started with an intentional focus of doing fitness first. Commit to three to five days a week and eventually you will form a morning habit for life.