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Today, let's explore the vast benefits of getting our juices flowing in the morning.
Exercise is one of those non-negotiables.
Doctors, researchers, scientists–even ancient philosophers–have long claimed exercise works like a miracle drug for its multifaced benefits for overall well-being. As time goes on, paper after paper after paper shows that the most effective way we can improve quality of life and duration of life is exercise.
Exercise serves the whole human enchilada—body, mind, and soul!
So we'd be remiss if we didn't bring some awareness to it on this journey. Aside from the countless positive physical effects, exercise can also be a meditative exercise that brings comfort and clarity to our day every morning.
A morning exercise routine reaps benefits throughout the day.
As with any element that you want to add to your day, doing it first thing in the morning provides you with the triggers to make sure it will actually happen.
Studies show differences between morning and evening workouts.
Working out before breakfast means your body will burn a greater percentage of fat instead of carbs, whereas working out in the evening may have the upper hand for pure strength training.
How about you?
The key to sticking to an exercise routine is to do it when it feels best and is most convenient for you.
What time of day do you generally feel most inspired and receive the most benefits from exercise?
Why do you get up at the time you do every morning?
Do you always wake up at the same time, or does it change depending on the day of the week or on how you feel?
If you already don't feel rushed in the morning and have adequate time to play with your morning routine, nice work 🙌 you can skip this micro challenge. But if you would like to allow more spaciousness in your morning, you're going to have to experiment with waking up earlier—which can be very easy—read on!
💪 THE CHALLENGE 👇
Starting tomorrow, get up just five minutes earlier than usual.
If you usually wake up at 7:00 A.M., set your alarm for 6:55 instead. Then get up at this new time every day. This may sound like a slow exercise, but adding in small changes like this makes it easier to form a new habit. Once you've been waking up five minutes earlier for about a week, add another five minutes to your experiment, so you're now getting up ten minutes earlier.
Eventually, if you keep moving your wake-up time five minutes earlier every week, you'll find a time that works for you.
Here are some hard-earned tips and suggestions from the pros on how to embrace a morning (or evening) exercise routine:
Keep your exercise routines short, simple, and fun!
This is especially important in the beginning when we first start playing with new routine ingredients.
Co-Founder at Inspirit and former vice president of product design at Facebook
On most days I try to do a 10–15-minute workout on my elliptical first thing. I prefer working out at home because when you go to an actual gym you have the whole back and forth that takes an hour, an hour and a half, and that feels too overwhelming. The fact that it’s just 10-15 minutes makes it feel easy, so I try to keep the pressure low. If I were like, “Julie, do a thirty-minute workout,” I just wouldn’t do it. So I keep the bar low. It’s like brushing your teeth—it’s not a big event.
Done is better than perfect.
There's nothing wrong with push-ups, squats, jumping jacks, or just standing up beside your bed and getting in some stretches.
Bestselling Author on creativity, productivity, and self-publishing.
I go to the gym on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. My goal is to simply go and spend fifteen minutes there. Building the habit is more important to me than sticking to a particular routine.
Keep your workouts fluid, day-to-day, and throughout your life.
To allow time for muscle recovery and ensure we stick to our exercise routines, it's helpful to alternate what part of our body you workout from one day to the next. While it's good to create a morning workout routine, the motions themselves don't have to become stale and monotonous.
JAMES P. OWEN
forty-year veteran of Wall Street and the author of Just Move!
As I get older, I've found that day of recovery has become more important. But I'm not one to sit around for long, so I do thirty minutes of walking outside, just to get the blood flowing, and thirty minutes of stretching later on in the day.
Enjoy the feeling of accomplishment an early morning sweat brings.
For many of us, if we don't get to our workout in the morning, it won't happen later in the day, however good our intentions. Once the pace of the day speeds up, leaving what we're doing to work out can seem both impractical and irresponsible.
inventor of the Design Sprint and a New York Times bestselling author
Starting my day with exercise gives me a big mood and energy boost throughout the day and makes me feel like I've accomplished something right off the bat. One of the big keys for me is getting dressed in running clothes right when I wake up, because it sets the default to exercise-my family expects it, and I expect it too.
Take your workout “win” into the rest of your day.
When you embrace the early morning sweat, you know that regardless of anything else that happens (or doesn't happen) throughout your day, you got your workout in.
user experience designer, founder, & speaker
I work out first thing in the morning. I love starting my day already feeling so accomplished. If frustrating things happen during the day, I can always look back to my morning workout and think, “I ran ten miles this morning, so I can handle ________________.”
How about you?
Are you inspired to try anything new? Or perhaps double down on an exercise routine you already enjoy?
We human beings are made of up to 60 percent of water.
The cells in our brain are mostly water, too. In fact, water makes up about 73 percent of our noodle! Water is required for jobs like making neurotransmitters and hormones, which influence everything the brain does. Researchers assert that if you don't top off the tank, dehydration can impair both short and long-term memory, as well as attention. Not to mention water's plethora of other helpful benefits like flushing away waste, regulating temperature, and helping cells grow and survive.
After sleeping all night, we wake up dehydrated.
During 8 hours of sleep, we lose an average of 200 milliliters of water—nearly 7 cups! So rehydrating soon after waking up is a simple and helpful practice to include in our morning routine's stack of healthy habits.
DR. MARIA E. PEÑA, MD
Professor at the Icahn School of Medicine and Director of Endocrine Services at Mount Sinai Doctors Forest Hills
By hydrating more, a person will urinate more and have more bowel movements, which is the body’s natural way of getting rid of waste. It’s a way of cleaning out toxins in the system, you’re getting rid of bad bacteria in your system, and it allows good bacteria in your gut to grow. Proper hydration also aids our bodies. It keeps skin plump and joints lubricated. Additionally, drinking water can help with fatigue, often felt in the morning.
Sticking to an exercise routine doesn't always come so easy.
So it's helpful to consider how we can use the resources at our disposal to create the right conditions that create inspired action in the direction of our intentions. Most wouldn't consider money to be a “disposable” resource, which is what makes it such a powerful motivator!
The best investment is the investment in yourself.
Consider how you can make better financial investments (however big or small) that inspire more exercise into your morning routine.
Put your money where your values are.
In a similar vein to accountability groups, gym memberships are a classic example of a financial tie that encourages us to do what we said we were going to do by making it financially painful not to.
Set stakes that inspire you to show up.
Classes that make you pay a deposit to save your spot are a good example of a financial investment that inspires us to show up! Another would be the often-cited example of giving a sum of cash to a friend and telling them to donate the money to a cause you would never want to give money to or have your name associated with (your least favorite politicians are often a good choice) if you don't follow through with what you said you would do.
Consider working with a personal trainer.
A trainer will keep us honest, accountable, and pushes us further than we generally go by ourselves. Although not cheap, this could be the best investment in your body you ever make.
How about you?
What is one financial investment that inspires you to exercise more?
Any effective reward system can immediately boost inspired action!
This reward can come during the exercise itself (particularly if you workout at a gym) or later in the day. The reward doesn't have to be anything major, but something simple to keep you motivated.
What kind of exercise reward(s) will inspire you to stick to your goals?
Let's play with this! Let's get creative! What will make you feel better about exercising and more thoroughly enjoy the process? As we experiment with different ways to pat ourselves on the back we will discover what really drives us and what will inspire us to show up each day.
Consider the exercise a reward in itself!
Treating yourself to fancy new running shoes, a gym membership, a course package, or venturing into the Great outdoors can certainly be a reward in itself … and by all means, feel free to still give yourself a special something later on after each exercise session—you deserve it!