Exercising at any time of the day is great for your mind and body. Studies have shown that exercising during the morning right after you wake up is best, as it'll help you focus for up to 10 hours. Other studies have also shown that 15 minutes of exercise or stretching is equal to one cup of coffee! Think of how much energy you’ll have and how much money you’ll save by trading in your latte for some morning push-ups.
When you wake up in the morning your body’s testosterone levels are highest, which means you have more strength and endurance to work out than if you waited until a later part of the day or evening. People who exercise in the evening can find it difficult to fall asleep because their body and mind is firing on all cylinders. Working out late at night can make it difficult to fall asleep and can lead to insomnia.
So what are the most effective 5 exercises/stretches to do in the morning?
This may seem like an elementary stretch better suited for second-grade physical education class but it provides a litany of benefits. As people get older they become prone to stiffness and inflexibility in their hamstrings and back. Touching your toes or at least trying to will increase the tightness in your hamstrings and greatly reduce your risk of suffering a back injury. People who complain of sciatica and throwing out their back frequently usually have tight hamstrings.
The proper way to perform this stretch is to stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and stretch until you feel a good pull and hold for 30 seconds. Do not bounce up and down as this can cause injury. The bounce technique use to be standard but was found to cause injuries and be less effective.
After you warm up your back and hamstrings it’s a good idea to work your leg muscles with some lunges. Having strong legs helps with balance and reduces the risk of both upper and lower body injuries since your leg muscles make up such a large proportion of your body mass.
Put your hands on your hips and take a large stride out and bend down so your front knee is close to a 90-degree angle. You can actually move forward when you perform lunges or stay in the same spot if your space is limited. Perform 3 sets up 10 on each leg.
This exercise is great for your core. Lie down on your back and bring your knees into your chest. This works the upper and particularly the lower abdominals without putting strain on your neck and back. Perform 4 sets of 10 repetitions each. You can cross your arms over your chest or have them lying out straight at your sides. It’s best to perform these on a mat or carpeted area.
Tension headaches are often caused by increased tightness in the neck and shoulder area. Many times people don’t realize how tight their necks are until they stretch them. To perform this stretch you want to tilt your head to each side and front and back and hold for 30 seconds. Then rotate your head in a circular motion three times. This releases tension in the shoulders and neck and can alleviate headaches.
Good old fashioned push-ups work the back, pectorals, abdominals and triceps. You can either do these with or without your knees touching the ground. Perform 3 sets of 10 each if possible. Push-ups increase core strength. If you can't do a push up on the floor, stand up and use a counter, wall, or piece of stable furniture and simulate the same motion while standing. Wall push-ups are just as effective.