Is your idea of a morning workout pounding the snooze button over and over again? If so you may be missing out on the benefits of an A.M. sweat.
Research shows that doing some light activity when you first wake up elevates the body’s core temperature, resulting in a rise of endorphins and other feel good hormones that can help boost your mood for the rest of the day. It’s also a great way to loosen up your joints and get the blood flowing.
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We’re not talking about doing a triathlon before breakfast. Just enough movement to open your eyes and get yourself in gear. This 7-minute exercise plan featuring AcaciaTV’s Amanda Young should be the perfect easy-does-it routine to start your day.
Stretch – 1 minute.
Yup. Stretching should be the first thing you do after hauling yourself out of bed. Rather than holding each position for several seconds like you do at the gym, keep it moving. Flow your body in any pattern that feels right, lengthening to the end of each stretch before pouring into the next. Don’t worry if you hear some pops and cracks or you’re too stiff to touch your toes. Just get warm.
Run in place – 2 minutes
Now that your muscles have shaken off a little bit of their sleepiness, let’s run in place. Start slowly keeping your knees low and your arms swinging loosely. Gradually increase intensity until your knees lift as high as your chest and your arms are firm and cranking. When you’ve got about 20 seconds left, gradually dial back down to a light jog to finish up.
Toe Touches – 1 minute
Moving on to side lunges. These are like a cup of java for the body, especially those core muscles. Start with your feet wider than hip-width apart and your arms up in a “T.” Bend your right knee as you lean forward, lean from the hips, and reach your left fingertips to your right foot. Never mind if you can’t go all the way down – just do your best. Stand up and shift through to the other side by bending your left knee. Reach across to touch the left foot with your right fingertips. Continue alternating sides, taking it slow so you don’t crank too hard on your low back.
Standing Side Bends – 1 minute
Really wake up the core now by standing with your feet hip-width apart and raising your arms up over your head. Lift your right knee up, lean towards it and drive your right elbow down to meet it – or as close as you can get at this ungodly hour. Repeat to the other side. Take your time; continuing to alternate.
One Leg Balance – 1 minute
Use this balance pose as a metaphor for the balance you hope to bring to the rest of your day. Stand on your right leg; bend your knee slightly. Lift your straight left leg up off the floor and hinge forward until your leg is about level with your hip. Maintain balance for about 25 seconds holding your arms anyway you need to prevent yourself from toppling over. Lower to start, shake out your legs and repeat to the other side.
Pushups – 1 minute
You didn’t think you were going to skate by without doing some of these babies did you? Finish up strong by getting into a straight plank position, balanced on your palms and the underside of your toes. Start with straight arms then bend them to lower your chest towards the floor. As your elbows reach shoulder level, press back up to the start. If you can’t do straight leg pushups, drop to your knees or do them standing with your hands pressed into a wall.
Once you’ve completed this routine you’ll feel completely energized. Grab a cup of coffee and go get ‘em tiger. Or not. Either way, at least you’ve accomplished something today.