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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 May 22, 2019

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.[1] According to the New York Times, scientists have now established that exercise also boosts your brain power.[2]

In addition, there are studies from the Appalachian State University which show that blood pressure can be reduced by doing regular morning exercise.[3]

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

1. Cat Camel Stretch

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.

Here’s a video to guide you through:

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2. Go for a Walk or a Run

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.

Learn more about the benefits of running here: 8 Benefits of Running 5 Minutes Every Day You Didn’t Know

3. Jumping Jacks

Michelle Obama is a great fan of this exercise and has become “Jumper in Chief.”[4] 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. Here’s how:

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.[5]

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Do about 10 to 15 raises for each side like this:

5. Balancing Table Pose

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.

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    6. Leg Squats

    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.[6]

    7. Push Ups

    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.

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    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.

    8. Bicycle Crunches

    There are numerous crunch exercises targeting 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:

    9. 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 do 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.

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    10. Bicep Curls

    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.

    Here’re some important notes before you start doing this exercise:

    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.[7] 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.

    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![8] Start including one or some of these exercises in your morning routine!

    More Articles About Exercises for Beginners

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

    Reference

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