Many of us have the intentions of getting up early before work and exercising, but sometimes setting our alarm clock an extra hour early seems a bit too painful. Luckily, morning workouts don't necessarily have to be so intense, and there are exercises everyone can fit in before work. Getting in a morning workout definitely has its benefits, but for most people to get up and get moving, they need to be able to participate in something reasonable.
"The goal for getting a quick workout in right when you wake-up is to 'jumpstart' your body for the day," says personal trainer John Ford over email. "You’ll get your heart rate up, increase blood flow throughout your body — super helpful in getting the blood flowing to your head and brain so you’ll be more alert — and loosen up your muscles, which alleviates tension on your joints."
Picking a workout that doesn't require too much of a time commitment can help encourage you to start your day actively each morning. If you're looking to fit in some exercise before you begin your workday, try these seven simple workouts that can be done in your own home before starting the rest of your day.
Yoga doesn't have to just be relaxing — it can be energizing as well. Morning yoga helps stretch out stiff muscles, improves circulation, and gets your heart pumping, according to Livestrong. Ford recommends a sequence that includes a sun salutation, plank, and downward facing dog, repeating the cycle a few times.
You don't have to run three miles each morning to reap cardiovascular benefits. Walking for just 20 minutes each morning can help improve your energy levels, reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke, and even increase your longevity. Take a stroll around your neighborhood or consider walking to work if possible.
If you're looking to avoid a morning shower, early stretches are for you. Morning stretches can improve your posture, relieve achey muscles and joints, and increase blood flow to the brain, according to Livestrong. This can help your focus and energy levels by the time you get to work.
You can do squats when brushing your teeth, in the shower, or even as soon as you pop out of bed. You don't need any weight on your back, like at the gym, but the motion is the same. "Stand feet little wider than shoulder width apart and drop your hips to the ground until thighs are slightly below parallel to the ground," says Ford. "Stand back up pushing through your heals. Repeat the movement varying the speed of the motion throughout."
Whether you live in a two-story house, apartment building, or down the street from a complex, stairs are readily accessible, and going up and down them is a great way to get your heart rate up in a short amount of time, without going to the gym. Going up and down stairs also works out your whole leg, as well as your butt.
6. Full Body Sit Ups
Get some ab workouts in with a quick one-minute, full-body sit up routine. Feel free to switch it up and incorporate some oblique-enhancing bicycle crunches. "This is a great total core workout," says Ford. "You're working your upper, lower, and middle abdominal muscles."
Keep a few small hand weights at home to enhance your morning exercise and gain some arm strength. Try this 8-minute morning exercise from Jorge Cruise — you can even use your weights when you're watching the morning news.
No matter the intensity of your workout, it's always good to get your blood flowing and your body moving first thing in the morning to set the tone for the rest of your day.