What do you do when you get out of bed? While most of us might instinctively make our way to the kitchen counter or coffee machine after getting out of bed, it might be far more effective – not to mention far healthier – to start the day with exercise.
Morning exercise has long been promoted by fitness experts and athletes as a great way to burn fat and slim down. The primary reason is that, with no food to burn for energy, your body burns its fat cells most efficiently early in the morning.
Interestingly, morning exercise also has a range of other benefits. It wakes you up, giving you alertness and energy throughout the day without caffeine. There’s also the significant positive effect that working out has on your health and strength.
Do you have a spare 15 to 30 minutes in the morning to spend on exercise? If you’d like to improve your health, burn more fat, build more muscle and enjoy a greater amount of energy throughout the day, try any of these seven morning exercises.
Feel like some fresh air? Getting out of the house for a run is one of the best ways to wake your entire body up in the morning. Put on some comfortable clothes and your running shoes and make your way out the door shortly after getting out of bed.
Since you’re exercising on an empty stomach, it’s best to skip the long-distance run in favour of a 20-30 minute workout session. If you’re a beginner, run at a light pace while your body gets used to exercising on a completely empty stomach.
Over time, you’ll gain endurance, allowing you to run further and faster. A 5km run every morning (3.1 miles) will wake you up, improve your cardiovascular fitness in very little time and help you burn 300-500 calories before breakfast.
Squats, whether using your bodyweight alone or with a barbell, are a fantastic way to exercise your posterior chain and leg muscles. Start your day with a set of 20-25 bodyweight squats to get your legs, back and glutes into shape.
As a beginner, the easiest way to do squats is by using your upper body to help you stay balanced. Hold your arms out straight in front of you, then gently sit back, as if you were sitting back into a chair, using your lower body.
Keep your back straight throughout the movement and avoid letting your knees go forward beyond your toes. Once the top of your thighs are parallel with the ground, push yourself up using your legs and glutes to bring yourself back to standing.
Need a full-body workout that you can do in your living room? Burpees are a type of bodyweight exercise that use almost all of the muscles in your body, providing a full workout that exercises your muscles and your heart.
Performing a burpee is simple. From start to finish, there are five steps involved in completing the movement:
1. Start by standing with your feet shoulder width apart.
2. Squat, quickly but smoothly, and drop your hands to the ground.
3. Put your weight on your arms and kick your feet back to a push-up position.
4. Kick your feet back, returning your body to a squatting position.
5. From a squatting position, leap up into the air and start again.
There are lots of burpee variations, some of which work certain muscle groups at a greater level of intensity. Whichever style of burpee you use, a set of 10-20 is a great way to wake up and energise your body for the entire day.
If you don’t feel like performing intense exercise early in the morning, yoga is a good alternative. A 20-30 minute yoga session will stretch your muscles and put you in an excellent mood for a productive day.
If you’re new to exercising in the morning, choose a simple yoga routine that you’ll have no trouble completing. As you get more accustomed to exercising early in the day, increase the intensity level for a more challenging morning workout.
Walking is a great way to get some fresh air in the morning, all while burning a few hundred calories. A 30-60 minute morning walk can burn anywhere from 50 to 400 calories, depending on your weight and pace.
Since walking is a form of low-intensity exercise, it’s a great choice for people with joint or flexibility issues that prevent them from performing bodyweight exercises or intense cardiovascular exercise.
Just like with running, it’s best to start small and work your way upwards as you get more confident. Choose a flat route for your first few walks before trying hill walks, power walks and other more challenging morning exercise options.
— Workrite Ergonomics (@WorkriteErgo) November 1, 2013
Everyone wants a firmer stomach, and crunches – alongside a healthy diet – are one of the best ways to get abs of steel. A set of 10-20 crunches in the morning is a good way to wake yourself up, work out your abdominals and begin the day.
If your home has hardwood flooring, purchase a yoga mat before you start doing any crunches in the morning. Place a small cushion behind your back or neck if you ever feel any discomfort during the movement due to the repetitive impact.
Over time, you can add other exercises to your morning abdominal workout. For a firm and tight stomach, try performing side planks for a minute at a time, switching sides until you’ve completed a short but challenging workout.
If you’re lucky enough to have your own swimming pool or live near a public pool, you’ll find that swimming is one of the most effective ways to train your body and start the day.
Swimming is a great early morning exercise for two reasons: it’s a good full-body workout that trains almost all of the muscles in your body, and the cold water is a great tool for quickly snapping out of morning tiredness and into action.
Since you’re working out on an empty stomach, morning swimming is also a great way to burn calories and slim down. Try a 15-30 minute swimming session early in the morning to tone your muscles, burn fat and increase your daytime alertness.
How healthy is your morning routine?
Do you exercise every day? If you struggle to find time to exercise after work, you could benefit from a quick jog, walk, swim or home workout after you wake up in the morning.
From burning calories more efficiently than any other workout to improving your heart health, morning exercise offers a huge range of benefits. Could you improve your morning routine with a quick workout?