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

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

There’s a lot more to exercise than weight loss. Find out how a simple morning exercise can help you start your day with a calm mind and positive attitude.

Most people don’t fail to lose weight due to a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of patience. When you’re feeling discouraged, remind yourself that there’s a lot more to exercise than weight loss.  Exercise improves your life in some surprising ways. 

Unexpected Benefits of Exercise

Cardio improves your mood and heart health. If you’re a total beginner, don’t sweat the specifics. Start with a daily walk and take baby steps forward from there.

Yoga could be used as an emotional outlet. This mindful practice reduces stress and depression. After you understand proper form, consider adding meditation. A paper published in Psychological Science suggests doing so could help you make better decisions.

Resistance training is time-efficient. Full body strength exercises should be vigorous enough to increase the number of calories your body burns at rest. You’ll also experience an increase in testosterone, which might offer a helpful confidence boost right before a speech or presentation.

Cardio for an Improved Mood and Healthy Heart

“Lack of activity destroys the good condition of every human being, while movement and methodical physical exercise save it and preserve it.” -Plato

1. Walk 

If you’ve not exercised (consistently) in a long time, I recommend beginning with a simple walk. Feeling sleepy? Take your dog out for a neighborhood walk to wake yourself up in the morning. Feeling stressed? Stop at the park on your way to the office for a calming nature walk. Invite a friend if you want to make it a social occasion.

2. Run

You don’t have to jog on a treadmill (but you can if you want to). I prefer taking my runs outside. Having scenery to admire makes the process more enjoyable. And you can take your workouts to different places to give yourself different challenges. You could jog on a beach, run through the woods, or sprint up your stairwell.

3. Play

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Some people get bored at the mere thought of walking or jogging. If that sounds like you, try to make things more playful. You could jump rope, practice cartwheels, ride a bike, or join a Zumba class. If you have children, get them involved by challenging them to an early game of Tag or Red Rover. 

Yoga Poses for a Better Posture and Calm Mind

“Take care of your body with steadfast fidelity. The soul must see through these eyes alone, and if they are dim, the whole world is clouded.” -Goethe

Note: I used videos courtesy of Yoga with Adriene, because I love how vivid and thorough her exercise descriptions are. I also included a key insight that I think you need to remember.

4. Staff Pose

Tip: Sit on a blanket to stay upright if you have a tendency to round your back.

5. Bridge Pose

Tip: Reach your finger tips to your heels to get in position before raising your hips.

6. Child’s Pose

Tip: If you need a breather during yoga class, use this as a cool-down position.

7. Downward Facing Dog

Tip: Create as much space between your fingers as you can, pressing through all areas of your palm equally.

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8. Cobra

Tip: Lift your hands off the mat to make sure you’re using your using the muscles in your back.

9. Mountain Pose

Tip: Raise your toes to make sure your weight is equally distributed through all four corners of your feet.

10. Tree Pose

Tip: Staring at a stable object in front of you (not a person) might make it easier to balance.

Resistance Training for Weight Loss and a Strong Body

“Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.” -Gandhi

Notes: There are two separate workouts below that could be performed for 4-6 weeks. One requires zero equipment and the other requires dumbbells. Feel free to perform one consistently, or alternate them back and forth.

Body Weight Circuit

11. Glute Bridges

Tip: Focus on mindful movement, pausing at the top to feel a squeeze in your glutes.

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12. Push-ups

Tip: If you can’t do a real push-up, practice with your hands placed on a wall or counter. This workout might help.

13. Squats

Tip: If you struggle to reach proper depth, practice with your hands placed on a door frame.

14. Inverted Rows

Tip: This might be tricky if you don’t have appropriate furniture. You could use a (sturdy) broom and two kitchen chairs.

15. Lunges

Tip: If balance is a problem, practice with a hand placed on a wall or chair.

Dumbbell Circuit

16. Bent-over Row

Tip: Keep your gaze forward and avoid the temptation to strain your neck.

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17. Romanian Dead-lift

Tip: Maintain a proud chest and pull your hips back after you feel a stretch in your hamstrings.

18. Shoulder Press

Tip: Place one foot behind you to add a balance challenge, or take a seat if you feel unstable.

19. Goblet Squats

Tip: Imagine you’re sitting on a dirty toilet while pushing your butt back to the bottom position.

20. Dumbbell Floor Press

Tip: Roll back with the dumbbells placed on your knees to avoid putting pressure on your back.

Resistance Training Suggestions:

  • Rest for 60-120 seconds in between every exercise.
  • Begin with one set if you’re a beginner, or two if you’re advanced.
  • For the body-weight exercises, perform as many repetitions as you can with proper form.
  • For the dumbbell exercises, use a weight that you can lift 8-12 times with proper form, and dedicate a workout session to practicing form with light weights to figure out your starting point.
  • To make it more challenging: perform more repetitions, decrease rest periods, increase weight, or add another set.

Making Exercise a Consistent Habit You Can Enjoy

Choose one exercise type to concentrate on for now, but don’t be afraid to mix-and-match as you gain experience. Be patient with the process. Explore your curiosity until you figure out what activities are effective and enjoyable.

Will you commit to start your day with a simple morning exercise? I promise you won’t regret it. Tell us how exercise has changed your life in the comments. If you found this helpful, please share!

Featured photo credit: morning exercises through Shoreline/bluesbby via flickr.com

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More by this author

Daniel Wallen

Daniel is a writer who focuses on blogging about happiness and motivation at Lifehack.

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Published on September 21, 2021

How Remote Work Affects Your Productivity And Wellbeing (Backed By Data)

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How Remote Work Affects Your Productivity And Wellbeing (Backed By Data)

The internet is flooded with articles about remote work and its benefits or drawbacks. But in reality, the remote work experience is so subjective that it’s impossible to draw general conclusions and issue one-size-fits-all advice about it. However, one thing that’s universal and rock-solid is data. Data-backed findings and research about remote work productivity give us a clear picture of how our workdays have changed and how work from home affects us—because data doesn’t lie.

In this article, we’ll look at three decisive findings from a recent data study and two survey reports concerning remote work productivity and worker well-being.

1. We Take Less Frequent Breaks

Your home can be a peaceful or a distracting place depending on your living and family conditions. While some of us might find it hard to focus amidst the sounds of our everyday life, other people will tell you that the peace and quiet while working from home (WFH) is a major productivity booster. Then there are those who find it hard to take proper breaks at home and switch off at the end of the workday.

But what does data say about remote work productivity? Do we work more or less in a remote setting?

Let’s take a step back to pre-pandemic times (2014, to be exact) when a time tracking application called DeskTime discovered that 10% of most productive people work for 52 minutes and then take a break for 17 minutes.

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Recently, the same time tracking app repeated that study to reveal working and breaking patterns during the pandemic. They found that remote work has caused an increase in time worked, with the most productive people now working for 112 minutes and breaking for 26 minutes.[1]

Now, this may seem rather innocent at first—so what if we work for extended periods of time as long as we also take longer breaks? But let’s take a closer look at this proportion.

While breaks have become only nine minutes longer, work sprints have more than doubled. That’s nearly two hours of work, meaning that the most hard-working people only take three to four breaks per 8-hour workday. This discovery makes us question if working from home (WFH) really is as good a thing for our well-being as we thought it was. In addition, in the WFH format, breaks are no longer a treat but rather a time to squeeze in a chore or help children with schoolwork.

Online meetings are among the main reasons for less frequent breaks. Pre-pandemic meetings meant going to another room, stretching your legs, and giving your eyes a rest from the computer. In a remote setting, all meetings happen on screen, sometimes back-to-back, which could be one of the main factors explaining the longer work hours recorded.

2. We Face a Higher Risk of Burnout

At first, many were optimistic about remote work’s benefits in terms of work-life balance as we save time on commuting and have more time to spend with family—at least in theory. But for many people, this was quickly counterbalanced by a struggle to separate their work and personal lives. Buffer’s 2021 survey for the State of Remote Work report found that the biggest struggle of remote workers is not being able to unplug, with collaboration difficulties and loneliness sharing second place.[2]

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Buffer’s respondents were also asked if they are working more or less since their shift to remote work, and 45 percent admitted to working more. Forty-two percent said they are working the same amount, while 13 percent responded that they are working less.

Longer work hours and fewer quality breaks can dramatically affect our health, as long-term sitting and computer use can cause eye strain, mental fatigue, and other issues. These, in turn, can lead to more severe consequences, such as burnout and heart disease.

Let’s have a closer look at the connection between burnout and remote work.

McKinsey’s report about the Future of work states that 49% of people say they’re feeling some symptoms of burnout.[3] And that may be an understatement since employees experiencing burnout are less likely to respond to survey requests and may have even left the workforce.

From the viewpoint of the employer, remote workers may seem like they are more productive and working longer hours. However, managers must be aware of the risks associated with increased employee anxiety. Otherwise, the productivity gains won’t be long-lasting. It’s no secret that prolonged anxiety can reduce job satisfaction, decrease work performance, and negatively affect interpersonal relationships with colleagues.[4]

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3. Despite everything, We Love Remote Work

An overwhelming majority—97 percent—of Buffer report’s survey respondents say they would like to continue working remotely to some extent. The two main benefits mentioned by the respondents are the ability to have a flexible schedule and the flexibility to work from anywhere.

McKinsey’s report found that more than half of employees would like their workplace to adopt a more flexible hybrid virtual-working model, with some days of work on-premises and some days working remotely. To be more exact, more than half of employees report that they would like at least three work-from-home days a week once the pandemic is over.

Companies will increasingly be forced to find ways to satisfy these workforce demands while implementing policies to minimize the risks associated with overworking and burnout. Smart companies will embrace this new trend and realize that adopting hybrid models can also be a win for them—for example, for accessing talent in different locations and at a lower cost.

Remote Work: Blessing or Plight?

Understandably, workers worldwide are tempted to keep the good work-life aspects that have come out of the pandemic—professional flexibility, fewer commutes, and extra time with family. But with the once strict boundaries between work and life fading, we must remain cautious. We try to squeeze in house chores during breaks. We do online meetings from the kitchen or the same couch we watch TV shows from, and many of us report difficulties switching off after work.

So, how do we keep our private and professional lives from hopelessly blending together?

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The answer is that we try to replicate the physical and virtual boundaries that come naturally in an office setting. This doesn’t only mean having a dedicated workspace but also tracking your work time and stopping when your working hours are finished. In addition, it means working breaks into your schedule because watercooler chats don’t just naturally happen at home.

If necessary, we need to introduce new rituals that resemble a normal office day—for example, going for a walk around the block in the morning to simulate “arriving at work.” Remote work is here to stay. If we want to enjoy the advantages it offers, then we need to learn how to cope with the personal challenges that come with it.

Learn how to stay productive while working remotely with these tips: How to Work From Home: 10 Tips to Stay Productive

Featured photo credit: Jenny Ueberberg via unsplash.com

Reference

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