Top 5 Morning Exercise Benefits
No time for exercise? The Zoo Health Club will show you how to fit in a workout every day and give you 5 reasons to work up a sweat in the morning.
Simple math is all it takes to schedule exercise time: Cut out one hour of evening TV, and set your alarm to wake you up 30 minutes earlier. You’ve just accomplished two great things for your body: 30 minutes more sleep and 30 minutes available for morning exercise. If you don’t need more sleep, adjust the formula. You now have a full hour to exercise.
But why exercise in the morning? After all, 500 calories burned at 6 a.m. is no different than at 6 p.m.
The answer is the fringe benefits. For the person who wants to add exercise to an otherwise sedentary lifestyle, here are 5 excellent reasons to work out in the morning:
Wake-Up Call #1: Time flies when your workouts not done.
You plan to work out, but your busy day throws a curveball, leaving you scrambling to finish your to-do list by bedtime.
So instead of hitting the gym, you hit the sack – annoyed that you missed yet another workout.
That’s why you should exercise first thing in your day. In fact, about 90% of people who exercise consistently do it in the morning. It’s the only way to guarantee you won’t skip it.
Need an extra boost to get out of bed? Push-ups will strengthen your arms, shoulders and pectoral muscles, which helps to create the illusion of cleavage as well as lift sagging breasts. Try this exercise:
Step 1: Kneel on a mat on all fours with your knees hip-width apart. Your hands should be slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and your fingers and wrists pointing forward.
Step 2: Feather your breathing as you lower your chest toward the floor through a count of 10 seconds. Descend to your maximum tension point, and hold for 2 seconds.
Step 3: Push your body back to starting position through a count of 10 seconds, keeping your elbows slightly bent at the top of the move.
Step 4: Repeat three times without resting.
Wake-Up Call #2: Your metabolism won’t boost itself.
You roll out of bed, throw on some clothes and stumble out the door on your way to another busy day. Are you even awake yet? Your metabolism certainly isn’t.
Not only does morning exercise help you burn calories during the actual workout, but its effects linger after you’re finished. It’s called EPOC – excess post-exercise oxygen consumption – and it’s a fancy way of saying you burn extra calories even after your workout’s over.
The average person can expect the metabolic boost to last for 30-60 minutes post-exercise. EPOC typically accounts for a few paltry calories – 10-60, depending on the intensity of the workout.
But don’t let that discourage you! It adds up over time, and because it only takes a daily deficit of 500 calories to lose one pound in a week, every calorie counts.
Pump up your metabolism and your biceps with the standing side curl:
Step 1: Hold a pair of dumbbells and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Extend your arms down by your sides, with palms facing forward and knees slightly bent.
Step 2: Feather your breathing as you curl the dumbbells up through a count of 10 seconds to just past a 90-degree angle. Hold and squeeze for 2 seconds.
Step 3: Keep your elbows tight against your body as you lower the weights to the starting point through a count of 10 seconds.
Step 4: Repeat three times without resting.
Wake-Up Call #3: It’s your choice to be a night owl or an early bird.
Tick-tock. You have an internal clock that thrives on routine. It’s your circadian rhythm, and it regulates your body on a 24-hour cycle.
Give yourself a strict bedtime, force yourself to wake up when your alarm goes off (no snoozing!), and exercise each day – even if it’s only for 10 minutes.
Over time – a few days for some, a few weeks for others – your body will learn the new routine.
It will gently wake you up, no earsplitting alarm required. You’ll feel rested and energized, and will actually start looking forward to your workout.
Get yourself in gear tomorrow morning with lateral squats. This move requires a lot of balance and hip stabilization – a job perfect for your gluteus medius.
Remember, this muscle is positioned not where you consider your butt to be, but rather on the side of your hip.
Be sure to keep your hips and shoulders in line, and don’t allow your knee to drop forward over your toes:
Step 1: With your hands on your hips, stand with your feet about a foot wider than shoulder-width apart.
Step 2: Squat down to the side toward one leg, while keeping the opposite leg straight, through a count of 10 seconds.
Step 3: At the maximum tension point, hold for 2 seconds. Return to the starting position through a count of 10 seconds.
Step 4: Alternate sides without resting. Perform 2 reps on each side.
Wake-Up Call #4: A.M. exercise helps you sleep better in the p.m.
Hitting the gym in the morning helps you hit the sack at night.
A study published in the scientific journalSleep showed that overweight or obese women who began a regular morning exercise routine slept better than those who exercised regularly in the evening.
Why? Evening exercise stimulates your body. You become restless and alert, making it very difficult for your brain to turn off and your body to drift into restful sleep.
Exercise is like the ignition in your car – it turns your body on, not off.
Get yourself going in the morning with some reverse crunches:
Step 1: Lie flat on a mat, with your hands by your sides, palms down. Pull your heels as close to your bottom as possible. Raise your heels about 2 inches off the ground.
Step 2: While keeping your chin up and abs tight, breathe slowly and rhythmically as you pull your knees up using the lower abdominals through a count of 10 seconds.
Step 3: Hold and squeeze for 2 seconds at the maximum tension point (when your bottom is just off the ground).
Step 4: Lower your body to the starting point through a 10-second count.
Step 5: Repeat three times without resting.
Wake-Up Call #5: A morning workout is better than coffee.
Oxygen, not caffeine, is what your brain wants in the morning. So instead of reaching for the coffeepot, reach for your sneakers and you’ll get all the brain-boosting benefits you need.
Studies show that exercise can increase your mental sharpness for 4 to 10 hours after your workout, a benefit you can really use at the start of your day.
Get up and get moving with this quadriceps flex.
This exercise requires a bit of balance – a talent not everyone has. So be sure to use a chair or stable countertop for support:
Step 1: Grasp a chair or other hip-level support, and stand with feet shoulder-width apart.
Step 2: Through a count of 10 seconds, bend your knees as you allow your body to fall slightly backward, letting your heels come up off the floor.
Step 3: At the maximum tension point, hold and squeeze your quads for 2 seconds.
Step 4: Through another count of 10 seconds, slowly return to the starting point.
Step 5: Without resting, repeat three times.