You know that exercise is a great way to start your day – the benefits of stretching, strength training and aerobics is well known. I’m betting that you also know that it can be tough to fit time for a workout into your busy schedule.
Here are some immediately applicable suggestions for how to free up more time in the morning, along with exercise routines that will make you look forward to getting out of bed.
Quick Tips for Freeing Up More Time in the Morning
1. Get good sleep. If you wake up tired every morning, you probably need to get more good quality sleep. Stick to a consistent bedtime and turn off the TV and computer at least an hour before you retire. You’ll do everything faster (and get better results) when you feel fully alert.
2. Take a single shower. Skip the shower until after you exercise rather than washing up twice. As a bonus, you’ll waste less water and help avoid dry skin.
3. Simplify your visual image. Talk with your hairdresser about getting a hairstyle that requires little daily maintenance and works with your natural color and curl pattern. Limit the number of beauty products you use to help shorten your routine.
4. Store and organize workout gear in one place. You’ll always know where your bicycle helmet is if you keep it by the front door. Keep your gym bag packed and in your car trunk so you’re always ready to go.
5. Lay out your clothes and accessories the night before. Stop using your precious time wondering what to wear in the morning. Get your outfit ready – from nose to toes – before you go to bed.
6. Eat healthy at work. It’s nice if you can sit down for a healthy breakfast but sometimes you need to eat on the go. Try a yogurt drink or a protein shake you can consume quickly at the office or during your commute.
7. Enlist family support. It’s always easier to make positive life changes when you have the support of your loved ones. Ask your kids to take on more tasks for getting ready for school – include them in the “night before” prep routine. It will also help them to become more responsible.
Tips for Morning Workout Sessions
1. Visit the gym. Become an early bird at your gym. It’s often less crowded. The people who are there also tend to be more dedicated, and seeing their consistency and commitment may rub off on you.
2. Work out at home. You can stay fit without a gym membership. Turn on the TV to join in an exercise program. Jump rope or use a stairs machine. Take things at your own pace in the beginning and keep challenging yourself as you get stronger.
3. Clean house. Whittle your waistline while you take care of your house and yard. Mopping the kitchen floor uses up more than 200 calories an hour. High intensity activities like shoveling snow burn up more than 400 calories. Be sure to stretch gently afterward while you are still warm.
4. Sign up for an exercise class. Making it to class on time gives you an extra incentive to be prompt so you don’t miss anything. Check the morning schedule at your local yoga or cycling studio. Libraries and community centers often offer programs at little or no cost.
5. Train at work. Many companies are investing in employee wellness programs. Your boss may be happy to lend the conference room for a session of step aerobics before work, or even to create an on-site gym.
6. Head out to a park. If you live or work in the city, you can still enjoy exercising outdoors. See what’s going on at your local park. There may be a running track, fitness stations or drop-in Tai Chi classes.
7. Dive into a pool. Public pools are another great venue in the early hours. No pool near you? Check out local hotels – some have
“swim only” memberships available for local residents. Swimming gives you all the benefits of a full body workout while being easy on your joints. It’s a great option for people with arthritis or other conditions who need low impact routines.
Daily exercise can help you lead a longer and healthier life. Put physical activity first on your morning schedule so you’ll feel more energetic all day long.