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Published on February 7, 2019

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

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

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 February 21, 2019

Top 9 Foods for Incredible Brian Health And Brain Power

Top 9 Foods for Incredible Brian Health And Brain Power

Your brain is the most intricate and powerful organ in your entire body. It’s essentially a super-computer with brain power like a Ferrari.

If you have a Ferrari, would you put cheap gasoline in it? Of course not. You want to put in high-octane performance fuel to get the most out of your investment.

When it comes to the brain, many people are looking for the top foods that will supercharge the brainpower to help focus better, think more clearly and have better brain health.

In this article, we’ll look at the top 9 brain foods that will help create supercharge your brain with energy and health:

1. Salmon

Salmon has long been held as a healthy brain food, but what makes this fish so valuable for your brain health?

It’s important to understand that your brain is primarily made up of fat. Roughly 60% of your brain is fat. One of the most important fats that the brain uses as a building block for healthy brain cells is omega-3’s.

Omega-3’s are essential for building a healthy brain but one of the most important omega-3’s for your brain is DHA. DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) forms nearly two-thirds of the omega-3’s found in your brain.[1]

Omega-3’s and DHA in particular help form the protective coating around our neurons. The better quality this coating is, the more efficient and effective our brain cells can work, allowing our brain power to work at full capacity.

Studies have shown that being deficient in DHA can affect normal brain development in children, which is why so many infant formulas and children’s supplements are beginning to include DHA.

Being deficient in DHA as an adult can cause focus and attention problems, mood swings, irritability, fatigue and poor sleep.

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2. Blueberries

Blueberries top the list as one of the most beneficial fruits to maximize your brain health and performance.

Blueberries have some of the highest content of antioxidants, particularly anthocyanins, than any other fruit, which helps protect the brain from stress and promote healthy brain aging.

Blueberries antioxidant content also help reduce inflammation, which allows the brain to maintain healthy energy levels.

Blueberries have begun to receive attention for their connection to brain performance.[2] Studies have demonstrated that eating blueberries on a regular basis can not only improve brain health but also brain performance as well including working memory.[3]

Blueberries not only taste great but are low in calories, high in Vitamin C, Vitamin K and Manganese.

3. Turmeric

Turmeric is a very impressive spice that has well-researched and proven to have tremendous benefits for your brain. Turmeric’s main compound that benefits the brain is called curcumin, which is responsible for turmerics bright yellow appearance.

Curcumin has been shown to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-cancer properties.[4]

Curcumin increases the production and availability of two important neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine, two important neurotransmitters involved with happiness, motivation, pleasure, and reward.

Curcumin has been well documented to have powerful anti-depressive effects. In one study, it was found to be as effective for depression as popular medications such as SSRI’s like Prozac.[5]

Curcumin has also been shown to:

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  • Increase blood flow to the brain.[6]
  • Increase BDNF production, a powerful stimulator of neuroplasticity.[7]
  • Increase DHA availability and synthesis in the brain.[8]
  • Increase antioxidant levels in the brain to prevent brain aging and inflammation.[9]

4. Coffee

Coffee is the wonderful elixir of energy that many people cherish every single morning. The biggest reason people drink coffee is to get a dose of caffeine.

Caffeine is a natural neurological stimulant that not only gives you energy but also prevents adenosine, a neurotransmitter involved with feeling tired, from binding in the brain.

Many people are surprised to find that coffee actually contains a large quantity of antioxidants called polyphenols, which are important for reducing inflammation in the brain and keep your brain energized. The antioxidants in coffee also provide a neuroprotective effect, protecting the brain from stress and damage. [R]

Coffee can also:

  • Improve alertness and concentration.[10]
  • Help with neurodegenerative disorders like Parkinson’s disease.[11]
  • Reduce your risk of depression.[12]
  • Improve your memory.
  • Provide short-term boost in athletic performance.[13]

5. Broccoli

What was your least favorite food as a kid growing up?

Most likely, broccoli was your answer.

Broccoli may not have been your top choice, but it might be the top choice for your brain.

Broccoli contains a compound called sulforaphane. Sulforaphane has been shown to promote the proliferation and survival of brain cells by reducing inflammation and boosting production of BDNF. It has also been shown to boost neurogenesis, the production of new brain cells.[14]

Broccoli is also loaded with important nutrients Vitamin K and Folate. Vitamin K plays a vital role in protecting brain cells.[15] Folate plays a crucial role in detoxification and reducing inflammation in the brain.

6. Bone broth

Bone broth wasn’t just created to combine with soups, you can actually drink bone broth by itself.

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Drinking bone broth has become one of the biggest trends in the health and wellness industry and for good reason. Bone broth isn’t actually a new thing. Bone broth has been used for centuries as a healing tonic to promote health and longevity.

Much of the nutritional benefits and value of bone broth comes from its substantial vitamin and mineral content. Primarily calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium.

Your gut is called your second brain for a reason. Research continually shows that there is a direct and indirect connection between your gut and your brain. Your gut also houses and stores many important brain compounds involved with optimal brain performance. Therefore the health of your gut is vitally important for your brain health and performance.

Bone broth has become a go-to tool for helping heal the gut and provide the gut with the vital nutrient and resources it needs to heal and perform optimally.

With the vast amounts of nutrients that bone broth contains, it makes the list as a go-to food for your brain health.

Look for high quality, organic bone broth for the best results.

7. Walnuts

Walnuts are one of the top choices of nuts for brain health. Walnuts also look similar to a brain.

Amongst the wide variety of nuts available, walnuts contain the highest amounts of the important omega-3 DHA. DHA, as seen above, is a critical building block for a healthy brain.

Walnuts also contain high amounts of antioxidants, folate, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus, which help to lower inflammation.

Melatonin in walnuts is an important nutrient for regulating your sleep. Having low amounts of melatonin can make it challenging to get good quality sleep and getting poor quality sleep can dramatically impair brain health and performance.

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8. Eggs

For years, eggs were put on the nutritional naughty list; but now, eggs are finally getting the credit they deserve. Eggs can provide a tremendous boost to your brain health and longevity.

Eggs, particularly the yolks, contain a compound called choline. Choline is essential for building the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Acetylcholine plays an important role in mood, memory, and intelligence.

Egg yolks contain some of the highest quantities of choline. This is very important because low levels of choline can lead to low levels of acetylcholine, which in turn can cause increased inflammation, brain fog, difficulty concentrating and fatigue.

9. Dark chocolate

You’re about to love chocolate even more because chocolate, particularly dark chocolate, is great for your brain.

Chocolate boosts levels of endorphins, your brains “feel good” chemicals. This is why you feel so good eating chocolate.[16]

Chocolate also increases blood flow to the brain which can help improve memory, attention, focus, and reaction time.[17]

Dark chocolate contains high levels of magnesium, which has been coined “natures valium” for its ability to calm and relax the brain.

Lastly, dark chocolate has one of the highest antioxidant profiles out of any other food, including popular superfoods like acai berries, blueberries, or pomegranates.[18]

Conclusion

Your brain is a high performing organ and it uses quite a lot of energy, roughly 20% of the bodies energy demands.

In order to maintain a healthy brain, you need the right fuel to ensure that your brain has all the nutrients it needs to perform as well as adapt to the stress of life.

If you want to keep your brain performing well for a lifetime, then you want to make sure you are including as many of these brain health foods as possible.

More Resources About Boosting Brain Power

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: DHA Effects in Brain Development and Function
[2] Canadian Science Publishing: Enhanced task-related brain activation and resting perfusion in healthy older adults after chronic blueberry supplementation
[3] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Cognitive effects following acute wild blueberry supplementation in 7- to 10-year-old children.
[4] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Curcumin: the Indian solid gold.
[5] Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. 2nd edition.: Turmeric, the Golden Spice
[6] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Effect of combined treatment with curcumin and candesartan on ischemic brain damage in mice.
[7] Science Direct: Curcumin reverses the effects of chronic stress on behavior, the HPA axis, BDNF expression and phosphorylation of CREB
[8] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Curcumin boosts DHA in the brain: Implications for the prevention of anxiety disorders.
[9] PLOS: A Chemical Analog of Curcumin as an Improved Inhibitor of Amyloid Abeta Oligomerization
[10] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Effects of Caffeine on Cognitive Performance, Mood, and Alertness in Sleep-Deprived Humans
[11] American Academy of Neurology: A Cup of Joe May Help Some Parkinson’s Disease Symptoms
[12] American Academy of Neurology: AAN 65th Annual Meeting Abstract
[13] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Effects of caffeine on the metabolic and catecholamine responses to exercise in 5 and 28 degrees C.
[14] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Hyperammonemia induces glial activation, neuroinflammation and alters neurotransmitter receptors in hippocampus, impairing spatial learning: reversal by sulforaphane
[15] Oxford Academic: Vitamin K and the Nervous System: An Overview of its Actions
[16] Diana L. Walcutt, Ph.D: Chocolate and Mood Disorders
[17] Health Magazine: Chocolate can do good things for your heart, skin and brain
[18] Chemistry Central Journal: Cacao seeds are a “Super Fruit”: A comparative analysis of various fruit powders and products

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