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Last Updated on December 17, 2020

5 Simple Morning Workout Exercise to Start Your Day the Right Way

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5 Simple Morning Workout Exercise to Start Your Day the Right Way

The approach you take in the morning can set you up for success throughout your day. This includes morning workout exercise.

If you’ve never exercised in the morning, try it. It can help wake you up and get you going. It can also kick your energy levels into high gear that can stay elevated throughout the day.

Early morning exercise can help your creative thinking, focus, and memory while at work and can also help you sleep better that night.

If you’ve been working out after work, you may find you dread it. You’re already tired from the day, strength levels might not feel their best not to mention the gym is filled to the rafters – plus we’re right into the New Year’s resolution swing.

By starting the day with exercise, it can have a positive spillover to all these other areas of your life. So here are 5 exercises you can start the day with.

1. Walking

If this seems too basic, you need to get over that. Walking is one of the most underrated forms of exercise out there and is something that more people should incorporate into their lives.

If you have a job that doesn’t keep you active, this can be a great exercise to keep your body moving early in the day. Walking in the morning will help you get those steps in early and then anything you may get later on is a bonus.

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Walking is also great because it’s a low impact exercise and good for those with any knee or joint pains. You can do it anywhere and it’s free, which is my ideal price point.

Walking is a morning workout exercise, you can do as soon as you get up. Keep your clothes and shoes right by your bed to make the process much easier.

Depending on how much time you have, start with a 15-20 minute brisk paced walk. You want to be going at a pace you can still carry on a conversation.

If you’re not able to do that, it might be intense to sustain the whole time. After a while you can increase your time and you may find yourself setting your alarm for earlier to get a longer walk in each morning.

2. Swimming

Swimming is incredible. It’s a full-body workout that used both you cardiovascular endurance system and your muscular endurance system. It works pretty much every muscle in the body and has a great core engagement. You just have to look at a competitive swimmer to see how they are some of the fittest athletes in the world.

Another great benefit of swimming for your morning workout exercise is it’s great if you have any form of injuries. The bouncy of the water helps to limit the resistance on your body and this is great if you have knee issues, back problems, ankle or joint point. You get the resistance of the water to help strengthen your muscles but without the impact that can come from running or strength training,

If swimming isn’t your strong suit, you can start off by just doing walking laps in the water. This is another great low resistance workout that is also beneficial if you have some nagging injuries. After a while, you can progress to mixing in some swimming laps to further increase the exercise.

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All local pools have great swimming instruction if this is brand new to you and it’s an affordable, and effective way, to get your fitness up.

3. High-Intensity Interval Training

This is a more intense form of a morning workout exercise but trust me, it will get you going! High-intensity interval training or HIIT is when you engage in an intense period of exercise followed by a slower paced recovery period.

You can do this in many ways. An easy example is using a stationary bike; you would start with a 5-10 minute warm up to get your heart rate up and blood flow to the muscles. Next you would then turn the intensity up on whatever resistance dial the bike has to around 70% and then peddle at this intense pace for 30-45 seconds. You then dial back the intensity to around 25% and do a slower paced “recovery phase” for 90-120 seconds.

If you need more time to recover, that is fine and it’s this type of exercise that can help in weight loss and improve aerobic and anaerobic fitness. This is something you would want to double check with your doctor before doing if this is a new style of exercise to you.

If you’ve been involved with a more intense style of training, HIIT can be a great thing to add to your repertoire in the morning.

You can do anywhere from 3 to 8 rounds of this followed by a 5-10 minute cool down. The whole workout won’t take you over 20 minutes too.

You can also try other forms of HIIT training such as running and walking intervals, using a rowing machine or elliptical machine.

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Learn more about HIIT in this article:

Beginners Guide To HIIT: How To Choose The Best Moves For Your HIIT Workout

4. Circuit Training

Circuit training incorporates some of the same principles that are going on with high intensity interval training. Circuit training is about engaging your whole body and doing intense periods of work in a short amount of time followed by a rest/recovery phase.

Circuits are great because they can always be different, you can do them at home or at the gym, and don’t even need equipment.

You would start by taking 3-4 exercises and doing them all in a row for 30 seconds each. You would then rest around 90 seconds before doing them again and you can do 4-5 rounds of this. Again, this won’t take you a lot of time and can fit in in your morning.

Here are examples of bodyweight exercises that can create a great circuit:

  • Burpees
  • Mountain climbers
  • Lunges
  • Push-ups
  • Skater hops
  • Bodyweight squats
  • Jump squats
  • Planks
  • Leg Lifts
  • Crunches

You can pick 3-4 of these to create a circuit and just with these 10 choices you have an endless supply of workouts you can put together.

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5. Low-Intensity Interval Training

This might be a new one for you but it’s a form of exercise that may be more practical for you than HIIT training. It’s also effective and works best done outside. Low-intensity interval training takes that same concept as its high-intensity alternative but is a lower intensity as the name implies.

It still works based around intervals but this time with a walking/jogging combination. The basics of the workout look like this:

  1. Start out walking at your normal pace for 3-5 minutes
  2. Start a light jog, or faster-paced walk, for 90 seconds
  3. Go back to your regular pace walk for 3-5 minutes
  4. Repeat this all over the course of 30 minutes.

Low-intensity interval training can be a great way to improve your fitness and lose weight at the same time. Your body responds well to these variations in the intensity of exercise and responds by providing improvements and changes.

This low-intensity interval training is also good if you want a lower pace of activity, are older, or are working through some injuries but still want a good form of exercise.

Wrapping It Up

Once you start working out in the morning, you may wonder why you never had before. I like it as a way to get the day going and feel you’ve accomplished something earlier. This can carry over and influence the rest of your day and help you become more productive.

It’s not about “getting it out of the way” with exercise but making it a part of your daily routine and this morning workout exercise can be a great way to do that.

More Resources About Exercise

Featured photo credit: Mike Bowman via unsplash.com

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More by this author

Jamie Logie

Jamie is a personal trainer and health coach with a degree in Kinesiology and Food and Nutrition.

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Last Updated on October 4, 2021

5 Best Exercises for Weight Loss at Home

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5 Best Exercises for Weight Loss at Home

With the lines of work and home becoming increasingly blurry, it’s no wonder why we struggle to find the time to prioritize our health. Particularly with weight loss, it’s often difficult to manage the ever-present constraints around work, children, time to exercise, and the feeling of exhaustion at the end of the day.

Taking the effects of stress and the rise of remote work and work-from-home situations, we need to be far more tactical in our weight loss pursuits. Quite often, these exercises for weight loss at home aren’t even fitness-related.

Firstly, let’s look at a standard day in the life of a busy professional or parent to really understand the battlefield in which we need to operate.

We all have 24 hours in a day to work with. Knowing how we spend that 24 hours is crucial when learning where time will be best spent for our weight loss journey. Setting unrealistic expectations can be a quick way to end up back at square one.

  • Sleep: 8 hours (parents, if you’re lucky)
  • Work: 8 hours (sometimes more)
  • Children: 2 to 4 hours (includes pickups, drop-offs, and play)
  • Meal Preparation: 1 hour (at a minimum)
  • Household Activities: 1 to 2 hours (because someone’s got to do it, right?)
  • Total: 20 to 22 hours

Taking into account that switching between tasks takes time and cognitive space, we can start to understand why people just want to sit and scroll through social media at the end of a day. We also haven’t factored in the work commute if you have to report to the office.

Just realized you now have minimal time to yourself? This might start to explain why you struggle to gain momentum in your weight loss journey. Let’s work out how to take back the initiative:

  • Automate – Are there any tasks you can automate? If you’re fortunate enough to be gainfully employed, maybe it’s time to hire a cleaner or have ready-made meals delivered to your door. It doesn’t have to happen every night, but removing the decision of “what’s for dinner?” can be a great way to reduce stress and free up brain space and time.
  • Optimize – If you’re time-poor with kids, it’s time to optimize your activities. Turn screen time into playtime outdoors, and get them to join in on your activities. If your children are old enough, it might be time to start offering pocket money for chores and meal preparation. This strategy helped me stay fit as a single parent. By getting out and active with my son, I doubled my return on investment by staying fit and enhancing my relationship.
  • Eliminate – We’re only human. Sometimes, we simply have too much on our plate due to our high expectations. Take a look through your daily tasks and work out what can be removed.

Now, go through this exercise yourself. What potential spare time do you have to work with? If the answer is none, you might want to keep reading.

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Exercise Selection: It’s Not All About the Burn

No equipment? No problem.

So, we’re finally tracking the elements that matter. It’s time to start leveraging exercise to accelerate our weight loss journey. Alongside focusing on individual exercises that help with weight loss at home or caloric expenditure, we’re going to focus on another method to help keep you consistent and accountable for the long term: interest.

Interest has been linked as one of the key motivating factors to maintain consistency towards a goal. By choosing a form of exercise that your body and mind can enjoy, your chances of weight loss success are far greater.

Here’re the 5 best exercises for weight loss at home:

1. Low-Intensity Interval Training (LIIT)

Maybe the body isn’t what it used to be, and intense forms of training simply just aren’t safe anymore. Also considering the body’s response to stress, it might be in our very best interest to choose low-intensity activities that we can repeat daily.

Mobility and movement flows have risen in popularity in recent years. This form of exercise focuses on restoring range of motion (ROM), improving stability, and returning people to activity. Some exercise options include:

  • Quadruped Rocks
  • Frog Stretch
  • Hip Prying
  • Scapula Push-ups
  • Hindu push-ups

Below is a 10minute warm-up flow that shows you how to put all of this together:

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2. Yoga

Yoga is another perfect example of LIIT methodology that can be advanced as your ability improves. Focusing on mobility, stability, and range of movement using only your body weight, it’s a perfect entry-level activity for those that may have lost their way on their weight loss journey.

3. Calisthenics

Strength training at home can be difficult when you lack equipment or experience. An obvious path to building strength at home is calisthenics. Starting with just the following basic bodyweight movements:

You can begin your journey with no equipment and build to quite an advanced level. Here are five movements you can look to master over time are:

Depending on your ability, choose movements that allow you to progress safely over time. There is also gymnastics-based training you can move towards if your body is ready for a more demanding form of training.

4. Aerobic Exercise

Another underrepresented form of exercise, aerobic exercise is often overlooked for its sexier counterparts like strength and HIIT. With the prevalence of obesity nearly tripling between 1975 and 2016 and the major cause in adults being cardiovascular disease, it makes sense to focus on activities that improve cardiovascular or heart health.

Another benefit is that it can be as simple as getting your steps in, going for a swim, or going for an easy ride or run. Phil Maffetone pioneered the Maximum Aerobic Function (MAF) Method that almost anyone can adopt regardless of fitness level and experience.[1]

Here’s a 30-minute session of aerobic exercises you can try:

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5. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

High-intensity interval training is a great way to elevate the heart rate and get the endorphins flowing. It can also be super time-effective, giving you a great bang for your buck. Try sequencing some of the movements and exercises above together with minimal rest to keep your heart rate elevated. Be sure to select movements that suit your current level of fitness and ability.

Here’s a HIIT workout that takes little time and is suited for any level:

Chipper 60

Complete all reps of every exercise for time. Exercises can be done in any order and repetitions to complete the workout.

If you can’t do jump squats, regress to normal squats, and don’t be afraid to change the leg raises to a 60-second plank if you need to. Finish up with some light stretching or foam rolling.

What Also Matters: Sleep, Stress, and Stimulants

Sleep, stress, and stimulants, also known as the hamster wheel of death. Tracking these elements gives us the power to finally stop relying on our ever-depleted stores of discipline and motivation to get the job done. It will also highlight the self-destructive habits that sabotage your weight loss journey.

Simply put, stress affects stimulants, sleep affects stress, and the vicious cycle continues.

Sleep

Are you getting enough sleep? It’s well documented that sleep is an important factor in weight loss and recovery.

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“Restricted sleep and poor sleep quality may lead to metabolic disorders, weight gain, and an increased risk of obesity and other chronic health conditions.”[2]

Start this journey by tracking how much sleep you’re getting. Certain wearables can also track the amount of movement and time you spend awake or in lighter sleep cycles. Getting enough time in REM or deep sleep is critical for weight loss.

Stress

We don’t need to be fancy. A simple daily measurement out of ten indicates how much stress we think we are under. Using this number, we can observe the effects that sleep, stimulants, and exercise have on our stress levels, allowing us to deploy the right strategy for our weight loss goals.

Stimulants

Stimulants can be classified as anything we put in our mouths. Tracking calories, alcohol, and caffeine is a great way to observe, predict, and avoid trends or at-risk periods of overeating and destructive behaviors. Tracking this is aligned with how well we sleep, and our stress response gives us enough information to start forming better weight loss habits.

Work to identify the trigger, observe the response, and then look to adjust.

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re fighting fit or returning to activity, the best exercises for weight loss at home are the ones that you can do day in day out that you enjoy. Think of exercise for weight loss as we do for compound interest. Consistently and regularly making deposits may not show immediately, but with time, they give you the momentum you need to reach your goals.

Featured photo credit: Olivia Bauso via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] PhilMaffetone: Maximum Aerobic Function
[2] SleepFoundation.org: Why is sleep so important to weight loss?

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