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After I Started Doing Morning Exercise, Life Is Getting Better…

After I Started Doing Morning Exercise, Life Is Getting Better…

I’m not a morning person. I’m lazy, love to sleep and enjoy a lie in.

As a child, I had a Snoopy poster in my room that said, “I think I’m allergic to Morning.” I lived by this truth for far too many years, holding onto the belief as if it were a concrete part of my personality—a trait that couldn’t be changed even if I wanted to, and for years I never wanted to.

For a long time, I tried to create the habit of exercise, but sadly I wasn’t very successful at that. I enjoyed sports, but I was never consistent, doing lots of exercise one week only to leave it behind the minute a sneeze encouraged me to take to my bed. Evening exercise was always a challenge. Each evening there were too many temptations, too many reasons to skip the gym or the exercise class to go home and watch a movie. I was an expert at thinking of good reasons to not work out.

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One day I realized how much of my life I was wasting lounging around in bed. An extra hour in bed each day meant that I was sleeping for 15 extra days a year. I decided to take action. I decided I wanted to live longer each year and getting up early would be the perfect way to include more exercise in my life.

These are the benefits of morning exercise that I have experienced, and hopefully you will too.

1. My stress levels are lower.

With regular exercise most people experience a reduction in stress. They are better able to handle the typical stresses of the day. Working out first thing in the morning ensures that the day will be easier to manage. Less stress means more control and typically a better day all round.

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2. I have more energy.

By exercising in the morning you will find that your energy levels much higher throughout the day. It is very difficult to motivate yourself to exercise in the evening, especially if you have had a busy, stressful day at work. Your instinct will be to collapse on the sofa. And sadly that horizontal position is usually accompanied by food or drink that isn’t ideal for your health. By working out in the morning, you will have more energy throughout the day and you won’t be as affected by stressful events in your working day.

3. I’m getting better sleep.

When you rise early to exercise you will find yourself going to bed earlier, but the great part about that is that you will go to sleep more easily than before. A more restful sleep will contribute to your energy levels and enhanced well-being all round. Everything is looking rosy!

4. I feel more in control.

Another thing you may notice is an increased feeling of being in control. You wake up early, you have time to get ready without the anxiety and the pressure of running to make your bus or train or worrying about the traffic. When you have time in the morning, you will be more organized and able to think about what is coming your way.

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5. I am more productive.

Your productivity will increase as you arrive to work energized, focused and more organized than before. Exercise is one of the biggest contributors to effective personal productivity. You will be able to think more clearly, and you will suffer from less stress and anxiety.

6. My creativity has increased.

An added bonus of reduced stress, increased energy and focus is creativity. Many report increased creativity when they are more relaxed and in control. A clear mind has space for more creative thinking.

7. I have better relationships.

Exercise puts us in a better mood; the increase in happy hormones in the brain improves your mood and well being. If you are happier, you will tend to be a nicer person and as a result relationships will hopefully change for the better.

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8. I feel healthy.

With all of these bonuses from morning exercise, as you can imagine your health and heart will benefit. Anything that reduces stress will have a substantial influence on your psychical health as well as your mental health.

9. I feel empowered.

If you manage to get up early every day for the next 6 weeks to exercise, you will show yourself that anything is possible. You will know that changing your life is within your control. It’s up to you and you will have proven that you can do it.

Give it a go, get up early in the morning to exercise and believe me: before long, you will feel invincible.

Featured photo credit: A brand new day by Thomas Hawk via flickr.com

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Ciara Conlon

Productivity coach, speaker, blogger and author of Chaos to Control, a Practical Guide to Getting Things Done

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Last Updated on November 11, 2019

How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

Have you ever noticed that some people are able to effortlessly remember even the most mundane details and quickly comprehend new things? Well, you can too!

To unlock the full potential of your brain, you need to keep it active and acute. Wasting time on your couch watching mindless television shows or scrolling through facebook is not going to help.

Besides getting out flashcards, what can you do to help remember things better and learn new things more quickly? Check out these 10 effective ways on how to improve memory:

1. Exercise and Get Your Body Moving

Exercising doesn’t just exercise the body, it also helps to exercise your brain. Obesity and the myriad of diseases that eventually set in as a result of being overweight can cause serious harm to the brain.

Furthermore, without regular exercise, plaque starts to build up in your arteries, and your blood vessels begin to lose the ability to effectively pump blood. Plaque buildup leads to heart attacks and it also reduces the amount of oxygen and nutrients that your blood carries to your brain. When the nutrients don’t make it there, the brain’s ability to function is compromised.

To prevent this from happening, make sure you get moving every day. Even if it’s just a brisk walk, it’ll help you maintain and increase your mental acuity. Brisk walking, swimming and dancing are all excellent activities. Take a look at these 5 Ways to Find Time for Exercise.

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2. Eliminate Stressors and Seek Help If You’re Depressed

Anything that causes you major stress, like anger or anxiety, will in time begin to eat away the parts of your brain that are responsible for memory. Amongst the most brain-damaging stressors is depression, which is actually often misdiagnosed a a memory problem since one of its primary symptoms is the inability to concentrate.

If you can’t concentrate, then you might feel like you are constantly forgetting things. Depression increases the levels of cortisol in your bloodstream which elevates the cortisol levels in the brain. Doctors have found that increased cortisol diminishes certain areas of the brain, especially the hippocampus which is where short-term memories are stored.

Prolonged depression can thus destroy your brain’s ability to remember anything new. Seek professional help to combat your depression – your brain will thank you.

3. Get a Good Night’s Sleep and Take Naps

Getting a consistent 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night will increase your memory. During sleep, the brain firms up memories of recently acquired information.

Getting enough sleep will help you get through the full spectrum of nocturnal cycles that are essential to optimal brain and body functioning during the waking hours. Taking a nap throughout the day, especially after learning something new, can also help you to retain those memories as well as recharge your brain and keep it sharper longer.

4. Feed Your Brain

Fifty to sixty percent of the brain’s overall weight is pure fat, which is used to insulate its billions of nerve cells. The better insulated a cell is, the faster it can send messages and the quicker you will be thinking.

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This is precisely why parents are advised to feed their young children whole milk and to restrict dieting – their brains’ need fat to grow and work properly. Skimping on fats can be devastating even to the adult brain.

Thus, eating foods that contain a healthy mix of fats is vital for long-term memory. Some excellent food choices include fish (especially anchovies, mackerel and wild salmon) and dark leafy green vegetables. Here’re more brain food choices: 12 Foods that Can Improve Your Brain Power

Deep-fried foods obviously contain fat but their lack of nutritional value is not going to help your brain or your body, so think healthy foods and fats.

5. Eat Breakfast and Make Sure It Includes an Egg

According to Larry McCleary, M.D., author of  The Brain Trust Program, an egg is the ideal breakfast. Eggs contain B vitamins which help nerve cells to burn glucose, antioxidants that protect neurons against damage; and omega-3 fatty acids that keep nerve cells firing at optimal speed.

Other foods to add to your breakfast include fruits, veggies and lean proteins. Avoid trans fats and high fructose corn syrup. Trans fats diminish the brain cells’ ability to communicate with each other and HFCS can actually shrink the brain by damaging cells.

Having a healthy breakfast in the morning has been shown to improve performance throughout the day. If you’re too busy to have a healthy breakfast, this maybe just right for you: 33 Quick And Healthy Breakfasts For Busy Mornings

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6. Write it Down

If there’s something you want to remember, writing it down can help.

It may sound like a no-brainer, but do you really know why? Writing it down creates oxygenated blood flow to areas of your brain that a responsible for your memories and literally exercises those parts of it. Here’s How Writing Things Down Can Change Your Life.

You can start a journal, write yourself emails or even start keeping a blog – all of these activities will help to improve your capacity to remember and memorize information.

7. Listen to Music

Research shows that certain types of music are very helpful in recalling memories. Information that is learned while listening to a particular song or collection can often be recalled by thinking of the song or “playing” it mentally. Songs and music can serve as cues for pulling up particular memories.

8. Visual Concepts

In order to remember things, many people need to visualize the information they are studying.

Pay attention to photographers, charts and other graphics that might appear in your textbook; or if you’re not studying a book, try to pull up a mental image of what it is you are trying to remember. It might also help to draw your own charts or figures, or utilize colors and highlighters to group related ideas in your notes.

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Here, you can learn How to Become a Person Who Can Visualize Results.

9. Teach Someone Else

Reading material out loud has been shown to significantly improve memory of the material. Expanding further upon this idea is the fact that psychologists and educators have found that by having students teach new concepts to others, it helps to enhance understanding and recall.

Teach new concepts and information to a friend or study partner, and you’ll find you remember the information a lot better.

10. Do Crossword Puzzles, Read or Play Cards

Studies have shown that doing crossword puzzles, read or play cards on a daily basis not only keep your brain active but also help to delay memory loss, especially in those who develop dementia.

So pick up the daily newspaper and work on that crossword puzzle, read a book or enjoy a game of solitaire.

Pick one to two of these tips first and start applying them to your everyday life. Very soon you’ll find yourself having better memories and a clearer head!

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Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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