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

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

More by this author

Daniel Wallen

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

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Last Updated on March 23, 2021

Manage Your Energy so You Can Manage Your Time

Manage Your Energy so You Can Manage Your Time

One of the greatest ironies of this age is that while various gadgets like smartphones and netbooks allow you to multitask, it seems that you never manage to get things done. You are caught in the busyness trap. There’s just too much work to do in one day that sometimes you end up exhausted with half-finished tasks.

The problem lies in how to keep our energy level high to ensure that you finish at least one of your most important tasks for the day. There’s just not enough hours in a day and it’s not possible to be productive the whole time.

You need more than time management. You need energy management

1. Dispel the idea that you need to be a “morning person” to be productive

How many times have you heard (or read) this advice – wake up early so that you can do all the tasks at hand. There’s nothing wrong with that advice. It’s actually reeks of good common sense – start early, finish early. The thing is that technique alone won’t work with everyone. Especially not with people who are not morning larks.

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I should know because I was once deluded with the idea that I will be more productive if I get out of bed by 6 a.m. Like most of you Lifehackers, I’m always on the lookout for productivity hacks because I have a lot of things in my plate. I’m working full time as an editor for a news agency, while at the same time tending to my side business as a content marketing strategist. I’m also a travel blogger and oh yeah, I forgot, I also have a life.

I read a lot of productivity books and blogs looking for ways to make the most of my 24 hours. Most stories on productivity stress waking up early. So I did – and I was a major failure in that department – both in waking up early and finishing early.

2. Determine your “peak hours”

Energy management begins with looking for your most productive hours in a day. Getting attuned to your body clock won’t happen instantly but there’s a way around it.

Monitor your working habits for one week and list down the time when you managed to do the most work. Take note also of what you feel during those hours – do you feel energized or lethargic? Monitor this and you will find a pattern later on.

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My experiment with being a morning lark proved that ignoring my body clock and just doing it by disciplining myself to wake up before 8 a.m. will push me to be more productive. I thought that by writing blog posts and other reports in the morning that I would be finished by noon and use my lunch break for a quick gym session. That never happened. I was sleepy, distracted and couldn’t write jack before 10 a.m.

In fact that was one experiment that I shouldn’t have tried because I should know better. After all, I’ve been writing for a living for the last 15 years, and I have observed time and again that I write more –and better – in the afternoon and in evenings after supper. I’m a night owl. I might as well, accept it and work around it.

Just recently, I was so fired up by a certain idea that – even if I’m back home tired from work – I took out my netbook, wrote and published a 600-word blog post by 11 p.m. This is a bit extreme and one of my rare outbursts of energy, but it works for me.

3. Block those high-energy hours

Once you have a sense of that high-energy time, you can then mold your schedule so that your other less important tasks will be scheduled either before or after this designated productive time.

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Block them out in your calendar and use the high-energy hours for your high priority tasks – especially those that require more of your mental energy and focus. You also need to use these hours to any task that will bring you closer to you life’s goal.

If you are a morning person, you might want to schedule most business meetings before lunch time as it’s important to keep your mind sharp and focused. But nothing is set in stone. Sometimes you have to sacrifice those productive hours to attend to other personal stuff – like if you or your family members are sick or if you have to attend your son’s graduation.

That said, just remember to keep those productive times on your calendar. You may allow for some exemptions but stick to that schedule as much as possible.

There’s no right or wrong way of using this energy management technique because everything depends on your own personal circumstances. What you need to remember is that you have to accept what works for you – and not what other productivity gurus say you should do.

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Understanding your own body clock is the key to time management. Without it, you end up exhausted chasing a never-ending cycle of tasks and frustrations.

Featured photo credit: Collin Hardy via unsplash.com

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