Morning exercise? We couldn’t imagine anything worse. Several more hits of the snooze button please, then the whole wake up routine condensed into five minutes in the bathroom. That was, until we exerted some serious willpower, reframed how our AM should look, embraced the power of an early bird’s workout and learnt how to become a morning exerciser. The benefits are huge; a sense of achievement, a positive outlook for the rest of the day, and more free time in the evening. Join us, with these; our 5 IDEAL ways to help you become a morning exerciser.
SET EVERYTHING UP THE NIGHT BEFORE
We know what it’s like. Truly. Hearing that alarm go off and looking for any excuse not to get up, out and exercise. Raindrops on the windows? Result. Early morning meeting? Just this once. Gym kit not packed? No chance am I doing it now.
So, while you may not be able to control the weather or have as much autonomy as you’d like over work, you can make things easy for yourself in the morning by having everything set up and ready to go the night before. That means having your work clothes and lunch laid out and ready, as well as your gym bag packed, including toiletries, a water bottle and your headphones. You can also have a snack ready to eat, and coffee waiting to be brewed. Then it’s as easy as rolling out of bed and onto the treadmill.
HAVE A SOLID BEDTIME ROUTINE & WAKE UP RITUALS
It’s incredible that only in the last few years we’ve woken up to the power of sleep and started to acknowledge its vital role in our health and wellbeing. And if you’re going to exercise early and effectively, you need to catch those zeds effectively.
Let’s flip the clock and start at bedtime. If you’re going to sleep well, it’s important to follow a routine, preferably one which is regular and unwavering. That means a consistent turn in time, a downing of tools (particularly those which emit that pesky blue light) an hour or two before bed, as well as perhaps a meditation and warm bath, and a concerted effort to keep your bedroom cool. We’ve written more about the IDEAL bedtime routine over here, by the way.
It’ll also stand you in good stead once at the gym if you wake up in the best possible way each day. Once you’ve opened your eyes, don’t dwell in bed checking Twitter. Get up, get the curtains open and get amongst it as soon as possible.
MORNING EXERCISE MULTI-TASKING
You don’t actually have to drag yourself to the gym each day to qualify as a ‘morning exerciser’. Sometimes our hectic schedules don’t grant us the time to get in a full workout, but a little stretching of the limbs can go a long way to lifting our spirits and setting us in the right frame of mind for the day. At the very least, take the time to engage in a few morning salutations and stretches to limber up for what’s to come.
Reframe the way you think about ‘exercise’, too. Exercising can be incorporated into practically any daily activity, and it’s easy and cheap to do. Squat at the fridge, take the stairs, park further away from the entrance, or walk-lunge on your way to the bathroom. Walk, cycle or run to work. Get in 15 minutes early and do some press ups somewhere quiet before you start work. Every little helps.
There’s no motivation quite like having a companion smashing your door down and rousing you from your slumber dressed in head-to-toe lycra. Peer pressure, when executed positively, is some stimulus. So, enlist a work colleague or friend to join you on your journey; the companionship and camaraderie is sure to spur you on. Make sure they’re similarly driven to get fit and committed to braving the mornings to do so. The most detrimental thing you can do is find an ally who encourages flakiness.
Obviously right now, buddying up isn’t possible. But you can still encourage (and receive encouragement) friends in their exercise regimes, as well as working out remotely, together, via webcam.
WARM UP & DOWN COMPLETELY
If you don’t fancy hobbling around for the rest of the day, muttering that the early bird catches nothing but pain, then you’ll need to warm up prior and warm down after comprehensively. This is particularly important with morning exercise as your body is still stiff and susceptible to injury from a long night of laying down. Cold mornings only serve to emphasise the threat. Don’t skip this part because time is scant. Instead, give the muscles which will be getting a going over a good stretch. So, if you’re running, pay particular attention to your calves, thighs and hamstring. If you’re lifting weights, your biceps, triceps and shoulders will need a good stretch. Job done.