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Wake yourself up with a 20-minute workout.
Making exercise part of your morning routine is a surefire way to set you up for the day. Waking up each morning feeling lethargic, rushing breakfast and leaving the house in a panic may be your usual routine, but sparing 20 minutes for exercise will prepare your mind and body for the tasks that await you. Just a quick, 20-minute, warm-up-style workout is enough to boost your energy and focus.
Increase Your Mobility
After eight-plus hours in bed, your muscles can be tight in the morning, so warming them up and increasing mobility are vital. Stretch any tight muscles, advises the American Council on Exercise. Common tight areas first thing in the morning include your hip flexors, adductors, chest and back. Stretch your hip flexors by kneeling on one knee and pushing your hips forward and then repeating on the other side. For your adductors, sit on the floor with the soles of your feet together and push your knees down. Stretch your chest by putting your hands in a doorway and pushing forward and stretch your back by reaching out in front of you as far as possible. Using a foam roller is a useful too. A roller is a cylinder of dense foam that you roll across your body to loosen tight muscle tissue. Roll for 15 to 20 seconds over any tight spots you have to increase flexibility. This should take you around five minutes.
Try the Neural Wake-Up
The neural wake-up call takes you from mobility and warming up into something a little more intense. New York-based personal trainer John Romaniello advises performing body-weight moves such as split squats, where you place your back foot on a couch or chair and your front foot on the floor and squat as low as possible, as well as lunges, where you step out in front and lunge down. Do regular pushups and overhead reaches too, holding the stretched position of each for one to two seconds. Spend 10 minutes doing this and aim to complete one to two sets of 10 repetitions for each.
Activate Your Muscles
Spend the last five minutes of your warm-up workout on activation exercises. These are more intense and will work to increase alertness and get you slightly out of breath. Perform body-weight squats, going as low as you can, pull-aparts with a resistance band, where you hold a band out in front and pull it apart, reverse crunches lying on the floor and bringing your knees toward your chest and pushups or knee pushups. Use a quick tempo, but use a full range of motion and complete 30 seconds on each. Rest for one minute and then go again. To make this more difficult, use plyometric exercises such as jump squats or jump lunges where your feet leave the floor and plyometric pushups, performing a clap on each rep.
Consider Your Diet
You can perform this routine right after waking, but refuel properly afterward with a breakfast consisting of protein and slow-digesting carbohydrates. Eggs on whole-grain toast, Greek yogurt with fruit or oatmeal are good choices. Prepare everything you need for the workout the night before and put a motivational playlist together to increase your energy in the morning.