To a large extent, increasing your chances of being healthy is a choice: you can either avoid exercise and hope for the best, or get in the habit of exercising so that you look fit and fine even at age 65 and beyond!
Starting the morning with exercise and a healthy breakfast is a great way to kick off your day. The release of endorphins from exercise gives you a good sensation and fires up your metabolism. It can wake up your whole body and make you feel on top of the world. Some people might say, “But I exercise at night!” Exercising at night can be a good way to release stress from the day, and for many people it’s the only time that regularly fits their schedule. But be careful, the rush of adrenaline may prevent you from falling asleep if it occurs too close to bedtime. Experiment with the best exercise routine for you. Even (or especially) if you’re a nighttime person, some short and gentle morning exercise can help clear your mind and provide you with the energy and confidence to face the day.
Do you need more reasons to exercise? According to research by psychologist Jennifer Carter, PhD working at Duke University, exercise helps depressed patients perceive the world in a new way by “breaking the veil” of their depression, and it also helps prevent relapses. An article published in the New York Times Magazine reported that scientists discovered that early morning exercise boosts a person’s brain power. So give morning exercise a chance!
The following are five exercises that will help make your morning great:
Yoga stretches can be great in the morning, offering a variety of benefits even if you’re still feeling sluggish. They help with toning your muscles and preventing arthritis. In the morning especially, gentle stretches make your body feel supple and relaxed so that you don’t get cramps as you start to up the intensity.
• Get on all fours, forming a table top with your back
• Relax your head and allow it drop down
• Round your back up towards the ceiling until you feel a comfortable stretch
• Breathe out and hold position for 10-15 seconds
• Return to a flat spine and as you breathe in, allow your back to sway
• Press your stomach towards the floor, lift your buttocks toward the ceiling and allow your head to tilt back slightly. Hold for a moment and then drop as you exhale.
• Repeat this sequence for 1-2 minutes.
Need an instant pick me up? ;One of the best ways to get your heart pumping is to do some jumping jacks! This exercise is great for your cardiovascular health and, over time, will allow you to see improvements in your physical capability. Start with 6 to 10 reps and work your way up.
Perhaps nothing tells you you’re working hard more than burning thigh muscles when you’re really pushing yourself. Squats are a classic move that can easily (and quickly) be incorporated in your morning routine. Stretch your hands out in front of you, place your legs shoulder-width apart and lower yourself in a seating position. Try starting with at least 6 to 10 reps.
Do you have a little extra weight around your belly? Tone your stomach muscles with crunches but be careful not to overdo it- otherwise tomorrow you might not be able to sit up. Simply lie down on a mat, place your hands on your abdomen and gently lift your upper body off the ground as you exhale and contract your abdominal muscles. Start gently- you don’t have to sit all the way up and be careful not to strain your neck. Try 10 crunches and then increase the number when you’re ready.
The plank knee tap is a good challenge and an alternative to jogging. From a pushup position, draw your right knee towards the chest and tap it with your left hand. Keep alternating the knees and hands. Gradually, if you’re feeling stable, pick up speed as if you are jogging. Try to do at least 20 reps.
So go ahead and set your alarm to wake you 20-30 minutes before your usual time and try some of these exercises before breakfast. By getting a little blood pumping your mind and body will feel more energized and ready to face the day!