Advertising
Advertising

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

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

Less Thinking, More Doing: Develop the Action Habit Today Why Instant Gratification is the Villain of Success How To Be Happy Alone and Enjoy Life Why You Procrastinate: 7 Possible Reasons You Can’t Get Anything Done 9 Things to Remember When You’re Having a Bad Day

Trending in Productivity

1 How to Prevent Decision Fatigue From Clouding Your Judgement 2 5 Less-Known Reasons Why Less is More 3 10 Smart Productivity Software to Boost Work Performance 4 How to Take Good Notes at Work: 6 Effective Ways 5 3 Techniques for Setting Priorities Effectively

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on July 8, 2020

How to Prevent Decision Fatigue From Clouding Your Judgement

How to Prevent Decision Fatigue From Clouding Your Judgement

What is decision fatigue? Let me explain this with an example:

When determining a court ruling, there are many factors that contribute to their final verdict. You probably assume that the judge’s decision is influenced solely by the nature of the crime committed or the particular laws that were broken. While this is completely valid, there is an even greater influential factor that dictates the judge’s decision: the time of day.

In 2012, a research team from Columbia University[1] examined 1,112 court rulings set in place by a Parole Board Judge over a 10 month period. The judge would have to determine whether the individuals in question would be released from prison on parole, or a change in the parole terms.

While the facts of the case often take precedence in decision making, the judges mental state had an alarming influence on their verdict.

As the day goes on, the chance of a favorable ruling drops:

Advertising

    Image source: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

    Does the time of day, or the judges level of hunger really contribute that greatly to their decision making? Yes, it does.

    The research went on to show that at the start of the day the likelihood of the judging giving out a favorable ruling was somewhere around 65%.

    But as the morning dragged on, the judge became fatigued and drained from making decision after decision. As more time went on, the odds of receiving a favorable ruling decreased steadily until it was whittled down to zero.

    However, right after their lunch break, the judge would return to the courtroom feeling refreshed and recharged. Energized by their second wind, their leniency skyrockets back up to a whopping 65%. And again, as the day drags on to its finish, the favorable rulings slowly diminish along with the judge’s spirits.

    This is no coincidence. According to the carefully recorded research, this was true for all 1,112 cases. The severity of the crime didn’t matter. Whether it was rape, murder, theft, or embezzlement, the criminal was more likely to get a favorable ruling either early in the morning, or after the judges lunch break.

    Advertising

    Are You Suffering from Decision Fatigue Too?

    We all suffer from decision fatigue without even realizing it.

    Perhaps you aren’t a judge with the fate of an individual’s life at your disposal, but the daily decisions you make for yourself could hinder you if you’re not in the right head-space.

    Regardless of how energetic you feel (as I imagine it is somehow caffeine induced anyway), you will still experience decision fatigue. Just like every other muscle, your brain gets tired after periods of overuse, pumping out one decision after the next. It needs a chance to rest in order to function at a productive rate.

    The Detrimental Consequences of Decision Fatigue

    When you are in a position such as a Judge, you can’t afford to let your mental state dictate your decision making; but it still does. According to George Lowenstein, an American educator and economy expert, decision fatigue is to blame for poor decision making among members of high office. The disastrous level of failure among these individuals to control their impulses could be directly related to their day to day stresses at work and their private life.

    When you’re just too tired to think, you stop caring. And once you get careless, that’s when you need to worry. Decision fatigue can contribute to a number of issues such as impulse shopping (guilty), poor decision making at work, and poor decision making with after work relationships. You know what I’m talking about. Don’t dip your pen in the company ink.

    How to Make Decision Effectively

    Either alter the time of decision making to when your mind is the most fresh, or limit the number of decisions to be made. Try utilizing the following hacks for more effective decision making.

    Advertising

    1. Make Your Most Important Decisions within the First 3 Hours

    You want to make decisions at your peak performance, so either first thing in the morning, or right after a break.

    Research has actually shown that you are the most productive for the first 3 hours[2] of your day. Utilize this time! Don’t waste it on trivial decisions such as what to wear, or mindlessly scrolling through social media.

    Instead, use this time to tweak your game plan. What do you want to accomplish? What can you improve? What steps do you need to take to reach these goals?

    2. Form Habits to Reduce Decision Making

    You don’t have to choose all the time.

    Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but it doesn’t have to be an extravagant spread every morning. Make a habit out of eating a similar or quick breakfast, and cut that step of your morning out of the way. Can’t decide what to wear? Pick the first thing that catches your eye. We both know that after 20 minutes of changing outfits you’ll just go with the first thing anyway.

    Powerful individuals such as Steve Jobs, Barack Obama, and Mark Zuckerberg don’t waste their precious time deciding what to wear. In fact, they have been known to limiting their outfits down to two options in order to reduce their daily decision making.

    Advertising

    3. Take Frequent Breaks for a Clearer Mind

    You are at your peak of productivity after a break, so to reap the benefits, you need to take lots of breaks! I know, what a sacrifice. If judges make better decisions in the morning and after their lunch break, then so will you.

    The reason for this is because the belly is now full, and the hunger is gone. Roy Baumeister, Florida State University social psychologist[3] had found that low-glucose levels take a negative toll on decision making. By taking a break to replenish your glucose levels, you will be able to focus better and improve your decision making abilities.

    Even if you aren’t hungry, little breaks are still necessary to let your mind refresh, and come back being able to think more clearly.

    Structure your break times. Decide beforehand when you will take breaks, and eat energy sustaining snacks so that your energy level doesn’t drop too low. The time you “lose” during your breaks will be made up in the end, as your productivity will increase after each break.

    So instead of slogging through your day, letting your mind deteriorate and fall victim to the daily abuses of decision making, take a break, eat a snack. Let your mind refresh and reset, and jump-start your productivity throughout the day.

    More Tips About Decision Making

    Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

    Reference

    Read Next