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10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

There are lots of studies that show if you do some exercise in the morning, you will be in a better mood all day long. You will have more energy and you will certainly be a better colleague, friend or partner. One psychologist at Duke University has researched the effects of exercise on depressed patients and he has come to the conclusion that exercise has a definite role in treating this condition and has an important role in preventing people from relapsing. According to the New York Times, scientists have now established that exercise also boosts your brain power.

In addition, there are studies from the Appalachian State University which show that blood pressure can be reduced by doing regular morning exercise. So, what is holding you back?

Here are 10 simple morning exercises that will help you feel great the whole day long. You can do them all at home without having to enrol in a gym. As usual, consult your doctor before starting any form of exercise routine if you are new to this.

1. Cat Camel Stretch

cat camel

    Stretching exercises are useful for muscle toning and also preventing arthritis. They can either be dynamic or static. Dynamic ones, such as the cat camel stretch, are particularly useful for doing other exercises in the morning. They are also beneficial at other times of the day, especially after long periods of sedentary work. This one is great for spinal flexibility and is a good warm up exercise.

    Kneel down on all fours. Start by rounding your back just like a camel so that your head will try to meet your pelvis. This is the camel position. Then lower and lift your head so that your lower back is arched. This is the cat position. Do these movements slowly and smoothly. About 4 or 5 times.

    2. Go for a walk or a run.

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    walking

      This is better done outside so that you can connect with nature, but running inside on a treadmill is almost as good. You can time yourself and increase length and time according to your fitness program. Always have new goals to reach. Start with brisk walking and work up to running. At my age, I am still walking!

      The health benefits are considerable. You can build stronger bones and you can help to maintain your weight. Also, you are helping your heart to stay healthy and keeping your blood pressure low.

      3. Jumping Jacks

      bestjumpingjacks

        Michelle Obama is a great fan of this exercise and has become “Jumper in Chief.” They are great for cardiovascular health and also for toning muscles especially the calves and the deltoids.

        Stand with feet together. Jump while spreading your arms and legs. Return to first position and keep going! You can start with doing these for 1 minute and then gradually build up to the number you are comfortable with.

        4. Abductor Side Lifts

        Watch the video below to see how to do this exercise. These muscles are important because you use them everyday to run, get into the car or onto and off a bicycle. They are very important also for your core stability and prevent the pelvis from tilting. Do about 10–15 raises for each side.

        5. Balancing Table Pose

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        ablab

          This is a classic yoga pose. It benefits the spine, balance, memory and concentration. Start with the table pose (hands and knees). Breathe in before starting each movement. As you exhale, raise your left leg parallel to the floor as you raise the right arm, also parallel to the floor. Breathe in as you lower arm and leg. Repeat for the other side. 10 repetitions on each side is a good starting point.

          6. Leg Squats

          legsquats

            Not just legs are involved but also hips and knees. Stand with your feet a bit further out from your hips. Arms are out in front of you. Then lower yourself as if you wanted to sit down until you reach a 90 degree angle. You can go down further if you want to. Then return to the starting position. Repeat 15 times for 2 sets for beginners.

            The benefits are that these exercises help with knee stability and can benefit the leg muscles such as quadriceps, hamstrings and calves.

            7. Push Ups

            pushups

              You start lying down (face down) but with your body held up at arm’s length. Your hands should be in line with your shoulders. Breathe in as you lower your body. That is fairly easy. Now, as you exhale, you have to get back up to the starting position. An easier version to start with is to bend your legs at the knees so you do not have to lift your whole body.

              Beginners may take up to a month to be able to do 100 push ups so you will have to start with a very small number and gradually increase it. This exercise is great for strengthening the chest, shoulders and the triceps. It is a great strengthening exercise for many muscle groups. In fact, most muscles from the toes to the shoulders are being used.

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              8. Lunges

              lunges

                Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Place your hand on your hips. Take one giant step forward with the right leg. Make sure the knee does not go too far forward, that is, past your toes. The left knee will go down to almost floor level. Alternate the legs as you go on.

                Try to a set of between 8 and 12 reps for each leg. It is important to allow for a day of rest, so this exercise should be done on alternate days, especially if you are using weights.

                This exercise is great for strengthening and toning the quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings.

                9. Bicep Curls

                bicepscurls

                  You can do this sitting down so if you spend a lot of time on the phone, this is a great exercise to do. Choose suitable dumbbells or another household object that you can easily hold. Sit down with the dumbbell in your hand. You need to sit forward a bit so that your triceps can lean on your thigh to give you support. Then bring the weighted arm up to shoulder length and then down again. Exhale as you lift the weight and inhale as you lower it. Try to do one or two sets of about ten repetitions for each arm and then switch arms.

                  These exercises are really useful for toning the arm muscles. In addition, they can strengthen and tone the brachioradialis muscle located in the forearm. These are the muscles we use to pick up things when we flex the arm at the elbow so we use these muscles countless times a day.

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                  10. Bicycle Crunches

                  There are numerous crunch exercises for targetting the abs. The bicycle crunch is a variation where you work more muscle groups.

                  Aim for 15 to 20 reps to start off with.

                  Watch the video to see how this is done correctly.

                  You may have to build in a rest day for the heavier exercises, numbers 6–10. On the rest days, you can do gentler stretching exercises and also some walking or running.

                  Morning exercise is not only a great mood booster, but will help you keep your weight down and also sleep better.

                  Let us know how you manage to keep up your morning routine and how great you feel.

                  Featured photo credit: Manila-Baywalk_10338rt/Stefan Munder via flickr.com

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                  Robert Locke

                  Freelance writer

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                  How to Keep Yourself Awake at Work Without Caffeine

                  How to Keep Yourself Awake at Work Without Caffeine

                  Keeping yourself awake at work can be a real challenge when you’re bored, exhausted or sleep-deprived.

                  But before you reach for that can of Red Bull, bottle of Mountain Dew, or pot of coffee, try these healthy remedies to stimulate your 5 different senses and help you stay awake at work:

                  Sight – Visual Stimulation

                  The first thing you do when you wake up is opening your eyes, so your visual stimulation is very important to keeping your energy level high.

                  1. Maximize your exposure to light.

                  Your body’s internal rhythm is regulated by the amount of light you receive. The greater your exposure, the more alert you will feel.

                  Open the shades and let in the sunlight. Step outside or look out the window. Turn on all the artificial lights in your office or around your work space.

                  2. Exercise your eyes (or give them a break).

                  Roll your eyes up and down, side to side and diagonally. Rotate them clockwise and then counterclockwise. Squeeze them shut and then open them wide. Do this several times.

                  Reading and sitting in front of a computer screen for long periods can lead to eye fatigue.

                  Take regular breaks with deliberate blinking and looking out into the distance.

                  3. Take note of your environment.

                  Learn to enjoy people-watching. Observe their activities, speech, body language and interactions with others. Notice the details of building, trees and other objects around you, including their color, shape and size.

                  By doing this, you’re not only relaxing your eye muscles but also calming your mind.

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                  Hearing – Auditory Stimulation

                  What you hear or listen to have direct effect on your brain. This is why we feel so annoyed and sometimes angry when we hear construction noise when we’re working.

                  4. Engage in conversation.

                  Talk to a friend or colleague. Trade funny stories. Discuss your business venture, a creative idea, the latest political scandal, or any other topic that interests you.

                  Practice mindful listening to what you and the other person are saying. Tune into the tone, volume and content of the conversation.

                  Learn how to practice better listening from this guide:

                  Why Listen to Reply Instead of Understand Is the Key to Failure

                  5. Listen to upbeat music.

                  Try hip hop, rock or jazz to keep you alert. Instrumental, non-distracting music works best.

                  Sing, whistle, and hum along if you can. Plug in the earphones if you must.

                  Smell – Olfactory Stimulation

                  If you’re feeling sleepy and suddenly smell the coffee, you’ll probably feel more energetic. This is why smell is an influential stimulation.

                  6. Work your nose.

                  Aroma therapists recommend essential oils of peppermint (to boost energy), rosemary (to build awareness), eucalyptus (to increase oxygen), cedarwood  (to activate your mind), and cinnamon (to improve your reaction time).

                  If you don’t have essential oils on hand, you can use lotions or burning candles that provide the same scents.

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                  Citrus like lemons, limes, grapefruits and oranges are also natural olfactory stimulants. Get a whiff of these citrus scents to stay awake.

                  Taste – Gustatory Stimulation

                  If you want an energetic day at work, you can’t let your tongue feeling plain and flavorless.

                  7. Have a good breakfast.

                  Start off with the most important meal of the day.

                  Think fresh, light and healthy: bran cereals, wholegrain breads, fruits, and yogurt.

                  Nix the heavy stuff like sausages, greasy eggs or pancakes.

                  Need some breakfasts inspirations? Check out these ideas:

                  20 Healthy Breakfast Choices That Will Save You Time

                  8. Drink lots of water.

                  Keep a glass or bottle of H2O near you and sip from it throughout the day. Dehydration can leave you feeling tired, sluggish and sleepy.

                  So make sure you drink enough water throughout the day. Not sure how much to drink? This can help you:

                  How Much Water Should You Drink Each Day (and How Much Is Too Much for You)

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                  Think that you’ve been drinking too little water? Try these friendly reminders:

                  3 Best Apps To Help You Drink Much More Water

                  9. Eat energy-boosting snacks.

                  Nuts and fruits (like bananas, apples and strawberries) are sure bets. Pairings with staying power include baby carrots with a low-fat cream cheese dip; celery sticks with peanut butter; red peppers with hummus; and plain yogurt with granola.

                  Avoid carb-filled, sugary snacks that make you crash and leave you feeling tired.

                  Here you can find some healthy snack ideas:

                  25 Healthy Snack Recipes To Make Your Workday More Productive

                  Touch – Tactile Stimulation

                  Last but not least, your sense of touch will make you physically feel more energetic and less stressful.

                  10. Splash cold water on your face.

                  Do this in the morning, during bathroom breaks and in the afternoon. Being exposed to cold water pushes your body to adjust and regulate its internal temperature, which in turn keeps you alert.

                  This works the same as you take a cold shower to increase mood and alertness. Take a look at this article to learn more about it:

                  5 Surprising Benefits of Cold Showers

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                  11. Use acupressure.

                  Apply pressure to, massage, or tap on the stimulation points of your body. These include the top of your head, the back of your neck, the back of your hand (between the thumb and index finger), just below the knee and your earlobes.

                  Watch this video to learn about the acupressure points you can try:

                  12. Get moving.

                  Move away from your chair and stand, walk, run or climb the stairs. Feel the earth under your feet. Stretch and twist. Do jumping jacks, lunges, push-ups and back bends.

                  And if you need to move more discreetly, wiggle your feet, bounce your knee up and down, scrunch your toes, or cross your legs.

                  You can also try some simple stretches and exercises at your desk:

                  Unlike addictive caffeine fixes, these remedies activate your senses, engage your attention, amp up your energy and prevent morning grogginess and afternoon slumps without the side effects or health risks.

                  Pick a few ways from this list of suggestions and practice them consistently. And when you do this consistently, you’ll soon see the positive results — a more energetic and productive you at work.

                  Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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