There is no shortage of reasons why regular exercise makes you feel great, no matter what time of day you choose to exercise. However, if your schedule is flexible, experts say training early can have positive and lasting effects throughout your day.
As well as being “a great relief for all the tension your body is holding on,” said celebrity fitness expert Ridge Davis, “exercise helps you build endurance and your ability to deal with stress… the less stressed you are, the more energy you need to use for your day. “
Since feeling mentally and physically exhausted isn’t at the top of the to-do list, it makes sense to start early.
“Being active has a profound impact on mental health by stimulating and improving mental clarity and judgment,” added Magdalena Cadet, a rheumatologist certified at NYU Langone. “Exercise helps the body make feel-good chemicals (endorphins) which can stimulate parts of the brain, help distract someone from anxiety, and boost confidence.
Beyond increasing energy and reducing stress, morning exercise also benefits many internal and external functions of the body, such as boosting metabolism, Cadet said. Regular morning workouts can also improve your sleep patterns.
“There are studies that suggest that early morning workouts can change a person’s body clock so that there is more alertness in the early hours, which can lead to improved quality of the body. sleep, ”Cadet explained. Research has shown that exercising at 7 a.m. may be the most optimal time.
Getting into a morning workout routine is an accomplishment in itself – the best way to work out is to do something you love. Fitness shouldn’t feel like a punishment, but rather a celebration of movement and something you do to feel good. But there are also specific moves you can do if you want to maximize the benefits of morning fitness. Here’s what the experts suggest you try:
A complete warm-up of the body
Before you start the morning exercises – or if you just want to do simple movements – certified personal trainer Lisa Mateo suggested doing a quick full-body workout.
Mateo recommended stretching your “quadriceps, hamstrings, hips, shoulders, and triceps … as well as some cardio moves, like high-knee jumps or runs, to get the heart rate up.
A tree pose to activate your legs and trunk
According to Peloton yoga and meditation teacher Kristin McGee, the standing yoga pose known as Vrikshasana – or Tree laying – is the ideal starting point for a morning exercise. The pose “promotes balance and stability in the legs and core,” McGee said.
McGee also credits the yoga movement with “helping to focus the mind,” which is an important factor in “preparing you for a successful day.”
To perform Tree Pose correctly, McGee asks her students to “start by standing straight, back straight, shoulders relaxed, and both feet together (ankles and feet touching).”
“Once the feet are firmly planted, shift your weight to your right foot, lift your left foot off the ground, bend your left knee and place your left foot inside your right thigh,” she continued. .
Once your legs are in a stable position, your arms can stay in a prayer position in front of your heart or you can raise them above your head. However, McGee advised anyone concerned about their balance to “place your hand on the wall or table for support or keep your foot lower at ankle level. The pose should be held for five to 10 breaths, then repeated on the opposite side.
A downward facing dog to wake up your body and brain
Another great yoga move to do in the morning is Downward Facing Dog. McGee is a fan of the pose because of its ability to “stretch and strengthen the whole body.” The movement “also circulates blood to the brain, which is great for waking up,” McGee said.
The movement, as the name suggests, is very reminiscent of how “a dog wakes up from a nap… and stretches its entire body with a nice arch,” McGee explained. Humans can mimic the movement by starting on all fours, keeping the wrists in line with the shoulders and toes tucked in.
As you exhale, push your hips upward and straighten your legs. Gently continue to push upward, engaging your arms while moving your shoulders away from your ears.
“Keep your core, legs and arms engaged and kneecaps raised, and pedal your legs back and forth to release any tension in the legs or lower back,” McGee added.
Dead Bug to turn on your heart and prevent back pain
Davis said he personally enjoys doing a move called Dead Bug in the morning to help stabilize the core. He relies on exercise to “strengthen the core muscles and prevent lower back injuries,” he said.
This movement is best performed on a padded mat, and proper form is critical to its success. To prepare for the move, Davis asks clients to “lie on their backs with their knees bent and feet flat on the floor and arms extended along your torso.” Keep in mind that “the main goal is to keep the lower back firmly pressed into the ground during the movement,” he added.
Once in the starting position, lift your hands with elbows above your shoulders and fists facing each other. Exhale and lift your legs with the knees directly above your hips, then slowly lower your right arm and left leg until they are just above the floor. (Here’s a video to give you more of a visual.) On an inhale, bring them back to the starting position and repeat the entire movement on the opposite side to complete a repetition. Beginners should aim for two to three sets consisting of five repetitions on each side.
Squats to improve overall mobility
Cadet favors squats because they benefit many functions of the body in a single gesture.
“Squats are one of my favorite exercises, especially in the morning,” she says. “They help improve mobility while working ligaments and connective tissue.” Squatting can also help support the joints, she added.
However, be wary if you have any injuries or conditions that could prevent you from doing this exercise.
“People with knee, back, or hip problems of any kind should avoid squats entirely or discuss modifications with a licensed professional,” Cadet said.
Correct form is the key to reaping the rewards of squats. Start with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. “The hips and ankles should be facing out,” Cadet said, adding that you shouldn’t extend your knees past your toes and your legs shouldn’t be wider than shoulder width.
Imagining your torso in a vertical line will straighten your posture and make the movement more functional, Cadet said. Then, with your chest up and thighs parallel to the floor, tighten your abs and push your butt back. Keep your heart engaged in position to help stabilize.
Beginners should aim to hold the position for five seconds and aim for 10-15 reps. Extending your arms out in front of you, adding light weights, and aiming to sit even deeper into the position will advance the exercise.