Mornings are extremely important for one big reason:
what you do in the morning will set the mood and tone for your day!
This means that your daily morning routine affects your:
- Moods and ability to manage stress throughout the day.
- Metabolic speed and daily energy levels.
- Physical pain, soreness and static posture.
- Mental focus and ability to get everything done that you need to.
In fact, one of the key qualities that is observed in nearly all successful and happy people is the way they use their time in the mornings and the way they start their days!
For this reason, I recommend people start their fitness journey by implementing healthy habits in the morning. I even have a 7 Day Kickstart Program to help guide people in building new lifestyle habits that improve fitness.
I also always encourage my clients and community to be wise about the way they start their days: avoid social media or things that make you feel bad, and implement more things that contribute to health and happiness.
For example, here are some things I do first thing in the morning:
- Drink a full glass of plain water before ANYTHING else. This helps wake up the digestive and endocrine systems slowly and respectfully.
- Listen to affirmations for health and happiness. Listening to affirmations while getting ready helps get you into a positive mindset of achievement and gratitude.
- Make my bed and tidy my living space. Tidying the space that I will return to at the end of the day serves as a preemptive reward for doing a good job and working hard throughout the day.
- Do an active morning warm up. Moving or stretching to warm up the body is a great way to help prevent pain throughout the day and start dispersing nutrients throughout the body to promote even energy levels throughout the day.
Yes, I recommend getting some activity in the morning because it will help wake you up and loosen up your body for the day!
But moving in the morning can be hard-I totally get that. Some days I’m not even trying to get up to go pee, let alone move at all! There is a great way, however, to get a morning routine in, without asking too much of yourself.
I recommend starting slow, and tapering up intensity with every exercise.
When I say this, I mean gently taper up the struggle so that the movements feel good instead of draining. The movements should also be total body movements that encourage both stretching and a little work.
Here are my Top 5 Favorite Morning Movements, to warm up and energize your body.
- Touch Down, Reach Ups – (3 sets of 10 reps w/ 30 second breaks)
To begin stand with feet at shoulder distance and body upright. Bend the knees slightly and fold forward to Touch Down-this should stretch the back of the body. Press the heels into the floor, tighten the core and stand upright, bring the arms to Reach Up overhead and lean back a little-this should stretch the front side of the body. Continue alternating for 10 reps before breaking.
- Plank to Downdog – (3 sets of 10 reps w/ 1 minute breaks)
Start in a high plank pose, take a deep breath in and press the hips up and back into downdog. Hands and feet should not move, and while in downdog you should feel stretch on back of legs. Slowly shift forward back into plank and continue alternating for a total of 10 reps.
- Frog Glute Bridges – (3 sets of 10 reps w/ 1 minute breaks)
Start on the floor in a reclining butterfly stretch (knees bent, bottoms of the feet together, knees fall apart) and hold for 30-60 seconds before moving-you should feel stretch on the front and inside of the hips. Once your hips have settled, you’re going to keep the knees open and the feet together while you squeeze the glutes and press them up towards the ceiling. Release slowly to the floor and repeat for 10 reps before taking a break.
- Reverse Lunge to Overhead Lean – (3 sets of 10 reps w/ 1 minute breaks)
Start by standing upright with the core tight and the chest up and forward. Step the right leg back a big step and lunge down to bring the knee to the floor. Stay here and lift the right arm up overhead and lean sideways to the left-you should feel stretch in the right hip and side body. Bring yourself back upright and step forward to start before repeating all on one side, then switch.
- Bent Over Reverse Arm Circles – (3 sets of 10 reps w/ 1 minute breaks)
Stand with your feet hip distance apart, bend the knees slightly and tilt the chest forward to face the floor-keep the back straight and make sure the torso is at a 90 degree angle to the thighs. Lift the arms straight out to the side and circle them up and to the back of the torso (up towards the ceiling) and around to create large circles. Move slowly and feel the chest and shoulders stretch while the back of the body activates.
Warming up in the morning is an essential healthy lifestyle habit! While a lot of you might argue that you can’t spare the time to do anything like this, I know your body is over there telling you “you can’t afford to keep skipping this”!
Make the time to start your day right-not to be skinny or attractive but to connect with yourself and your body, show yourself care first thing in the morning, and to make sure you have the best day possible!
YOU ARE WORTH IT!!
This mini-article was written by Elexis Smolak CPT, CNC, founder of Adapted Fitness and Master Trainer. Learn more or schedule a virtual coffee at AdaptedToYou.com