Wake up and start your day on the right track with an effective energizing and stress-relieving workout. Cardio can generate early morning endorphins, but slower workouts are also a great option to help you feel centered. No matter which workout you choose, movement is important to wake up your body and clear your mind. Here are three workouts to try in the morning (including one that you might not expect!).
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1. Feel Accomplished with a Morning Run
Running for many people is a love-hate activity. There is one absolute truth though: no one ever regrets a run. Running first thing in the morning will make you feel productive and accomplished before your day even really begins. Make sure to warm up (dynamic stretches are great) before going out for a morning run since your muscles and joints might be stiff. Here are a few other tips to make the most out of your morning run.
Get Morning Fresh Air with an Outdoor Run
Although it can be convenient to hop on a treadmill in your house, or jog a bit on a treadmill at the gym, try a short run outside in the morning. The fresh air and sunlight will help wake you up. It can take some getting used to, but once morning runs become part of your routine you might surprise yourself by looking forward to them.
Run/Walk or Easy Slow Runs are Great Morning Options
No need to run fast first thing in the morning. Slow runs can actually make you faster in the long run. Run/walk combinations, such as the Galloway Method, are particularly great for mornings when you are easing into your day. This method requires running for a set number of minutes or seconds, interspersed with walking breaks.
Indoor Runs on a Home Treadmill
It can be hard to get out of bed. Although running outdoors is a great way to start your morning, sometimes the weather might not be ideal or it might be dark out. The next best option to kickstart your day and elevate your heart rate is with an indoor treadmill. If you are able to have one in your house (basement and garages are both popular spaces) you can easily sneak in a productive workout without even leaving the house.
Need a treadmill? One of the most highly rated treadmills is the T series from NordicTrack.
2. Ease into the Morning with Yoga
It’s no secret that yoga is an all-encompassing workout that is as good for your body as your mind. With so many different yoga variations, you can easily find one that suits your morning mood.
Set the Mood for Morning Yoga at Home
To get the most out of your yoga practice, choose the right setting for your yoga class. If you are at home some tips might be dimming the lights, lighting candles, or opening the shades to get some natural morning light. Consider opening a window. Do whatever you need to get in a positive mindset for yoga.
Try the Chesapeake Bay Peace + Tranquility candle for a calming scent for your yoga practice.
Try Yin or Slow Moving Yoga for a Soothing Start
Yin yoga is a slower and more meditative yoga that focuses on deep connective tissues (from MindBodyGreen). Holding poses for an extended amount of times (usually a few minutes) allows you to get deeper into the pose. It is an extremely relaxing way to start your morning, and will leave you feeling calm and limber.
For yin practices, I highly recommend a yoga block, such as this one from Manduka. This will make getting into and holding poses for longer periods of time more comfortable.
Try Vinyasa, Power Yoga, or Yoga Sculpt for a Fiery Start
A yang yoga class is one of the best ways to have a vigorous morning workout without impact. Linking together postures might be challenging at first, but as soon as you are warmed up (for me, this is usually 15 minutes into class) it will feel rhythmic. I particularly love vinyasa classes in the morning because the movement feels so easy and natural, even if it is early in the morning.
Looking for a challenge? Yoga sculpt classes incorporate light weights to tone your body even further.
3. Try Cardio Shadow Boxing for the Ultimate Morning Stress Relief
Cardio shadow boxing has become my surprising new favorite morning workout. There is no impact, so it feels “easier” on the body, but it elevates your heart rate quickly. Punching, even at the air (“shadow” boxing), can be very stress-relieving. There is no need for a bag at home, although if it is within your budget and you have space, it can definitely amp up your workout intensity.
Best Apps for Virtual Cardio Boxing
My favorite app for virtual shadow boxing is obé. The instructors are incredibly motivating and the classes are perfect for all levels. Expect not just to throw punches in the boxing sequences – they integrate ducks, weaves, and more. They do sprinkle in some other bodyweight workouts (think jump squats, shoulder taps, core exercises) so the boxing does not feel repetitive.
For more workout tips check out my in-depth review of obé
Another app for virtual boxing that offers classes from a variety of studios is Classpass at Home. There are a variety of on-demand classes from popular boxing programs such as Title Boxing and Boxhaus.
Level Up Cardio Boxing with Weights
Shadowboxing requires no equipment. Optionally though, if you want to level up try wrist weights or small hand weights. Throwing punches with added weight will help further tone up your arms and core.
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How do you feel about morning workouts? Do you do any of these now or will you try something new?