Getting up and moving can set the tone for the rest of the day.
One of the easiest ways to ensure a good day is to keep an assortment of good morning exercises ready to do when you rise. Whether it’s a busy day full of deadlines and meetings or a more relaxed, lounge around kind of day, there is plenty of science behind why you should make some time for exercises right after you wake up.
Studies have shown that regular exercise contributes to better sleep, improved mood and even weight loss. But there are a few special reasons why you should aim for a good morning exercise routine.
- Consistency: If you put off exercise for later in the day, it's more likely to get skipped in favor of something more urgent. Making time for exercise in the morning can improve consistency, which is key for making an impact on your overall health and energy.
- Calories: A study by British Journal of Nutrition found that working out before you’ve consumed any meals for the day can burn 20% more fat.
- Better eating: Additionally, studies have confirmed that if you start your day with a workout you're more likely to make smarter eating choices throughout the day. That also can lead to increased energy, better sleep, and a great mood. Win-win-win.
Of course, rolling out of bed and into a pair of running shoes or onto your yoga mat is much easier said than done, especially if the sun isn’t up yet and your bed is really comfy. It’s much easier to hit snooze than commit to an early workout.
To make it easier:
- Try setting out your workout clothes the night before, or even sleeping in them, to get at least one obstacle out of the way.
- Scheduling your workout into your morning routine —yep, write it down in your planner — can also help you stick to the habit.
- You may even want to try and reflect on how a week of morning exercises makes you feel. Seeing the positive effects of the habit may push you to keep going when it feels difficult.
Exercises for energy
Starting the day in a slump is always rough. Even copious amounts of caffeine can’t fix what a quick morning workout could have prevented.
While having a general workout routine — no matter when you practice it — has proven to be an energy booster, doing so in the morning can lead to a sustained habit, which is the key to keeping up all that energy.
- Jumping rope: Just 30 minutes of cardio each day can lead to the kind of energy you may be after. If you can't get outside for a run, pick up a jump rope. The playground staple isn’t just for kids, it can give you a full body workout! Just getting started? Here’s a 10 minute beginner video.
- Squats: You don’t need a bunch of equipment to get in a quick workout in the mornings. Opt for the basic squat, which is great for abs, glutes, and legs. Take a variety of variations, like stepping your legs out wide. Keep your chest high as you bend your knees until your hips are slightly lower than your knees. Hold for a few seconds and pop back up. Repeat.
- Burpees: You love to hate them, but burpees provide a quick full-body workout that gets easier over time. Start standing with your feet about shoulder-width apart. Move your hips back into a squat and then move your hands to the ground and jump your feet back into a plank position. Keep your hands aligned with your shoulders. Do a quick push up, jump your feet back up closer to your hands and raise your arms above your head. Repeat until you feel energized!
Exercises for focus
A little bit of exercise in the morning can help the body and mind focus for the rest of the day, studies show. A study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that morning exercise can have a positive effect on decision-making, your attention span and just general focus.
- Take a walk: A morning saunter around the neighborhood should absolutely be counted as a good morning exercise. Beyond getting the blood moving, a walk can help you clear your head so that when you’re ready to work you start extra fresh.
- Balance sequence: Balancing exercises are great for flexibility and the core. They’re also a great way to practice your focus. Make sure you’re moving in ways that bolster your balance. Grab a mat, a sip of water, and try a 15 minute balance sequence, like this one, to get your day started.
Good morning exercises for lazy days
Starting your day with a little movement doesn’t even require getting out of bed. When you need something a little less than a full workout, turn to these yoga poses that will make welcoming the day a little easier.
- Spinal twist: Lie flat on your back and raise left knee up to your chest; then let it drop across your body to the right. Keep your shoulders flat. Return to center and repeat this motion with your right leg, dropping it to the left.
- Cat and cow: Start on your hands and knees with your wrists directly under your shoulders and your knees aligned with your hips. As you exhale through your nose arch your back and tuck your head down, like a cat does when it stretches. As you inhale, bring your head up, drop your belly and lift your chest. Repeat this spinal stretch anywhere from 5-20 times.
- Seated forward fold: Sit with your legs stretched out in front of you. Gently inch forward, reaching your fingers for your toes. Remember to breathe; don't focus on how far you can reach, but rather how deeply you can relax into the stretch.
- Supported hip opener: Lay down and bring one leg up to a 90-degree angle. Gently set the opposite ankle on top of that knee. Lift the bent leg and interlock your fingers behind the knee. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat on the other side.
What are some of your favorite ways to get a good morning exercise in? Let us know by connecting through Instagram at @inkandvolt! We’re always looking for a great new way to get a jump on the day.