From morning-grouch to morning-warrior: Six tips to help you conquer these early workouts
They say you either love it or hate it: morning exercise. But whether you are bright-eyed and bushy tailed at the thought of a 6 AM run or not, there are plenty of good reasons for making exercise part of your morning routine. Morning workouts boost the mood and give a deserved sense of accomplishment. But exercising first thing in the morning may not only make you a happier but also a smarter person. Scientists have found that as little as 15 minutes of moderate intensity exercise can enhance cognitive brain function and lead to increased concentration and alertness.
Convinced by the evidence but not quite sure how to get your butt out of bed at sunrise? Here are six simple tricks, which will help even the biggest morning-grouch to kick-start the day right.
1. Snooze and loose
Yes I know, it is tempting – pushing the button and enjoying sleep for just a tiny bit longer. But by getting up as soon as the alarm bells ring you avoid the temptation to skip your morning work-out altogether. You are a notorious user of the snooze-button? Place your alarm clock as far away as possible from your bed. If you’ve already had to jump out of bed and across the room to kill the awful sound of your alarm you are much less likely to sneak back under the covers.
2. Avoid barriers
Make the start of your workout as easy as possible. Fishing for your trainers in the back corner of your closet before you can get started, may quickly kill your new-found motivation. So prepare for a smooth kick-off: put out your workout-gear the evening before and place it next to your bed ready for you to jump right into upon getting up.
3. Do whatever you like
‘But I hate running!’ That’s fair enough. Not every type of exercise is for everyone. So instead of forcing yourself through a 20-minutes HITT session each morning, because the latest issue of Women’s Health called it the best fat-burner, choose an exercise that you thoroughly enjoy, at an intensity that you feel comfortable with. Building up unnecessary pressure to do a certain exercise may just be one more factor making you skip the workout altogether.
4. Small commitments
Lissy from the office runs a 10K each morning? Well, yes she might be one of those morning-enthusiasts, who thoroughly enjoy that sort of stuff. But for most of us baby steps are just fine for starters. Try committing to 15-20 minutes of exercise each morning. Remember the first minutes are always the most unpleasant, but once you are up and running you may even enjoy your workout so much you want to keep going.
5. Variety is key
If you want to have a good shot at making this morning-workout a daily ritual make sure to bring in variety – walking, running, cycling, yoga, swimming, push- and sit-ups, rope-skipping – the list goes on. Depending on your daily form you may want to switch not only the type of exercise but also its intensity. You don’t feel like up-hill sprints the morning after these two glasses of wine at your friends’ party last night? Just do light stretches instead. They may help with the hangover – just as a big green smoothie afterwards will.
6. Make it a habit
They say it takes 21 days to form a habit, so don’t give up too early. Just be persistent with your daily 20 minutes and don’t give in to the temptation of skipping your new ritual. It may be a struggle the first few weeks but chances are quite high that after initial teething problems, you actually enjoy your morning workouts so much you simply can’t live without them.
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