In our dreams, we wake up early, jump out of bed straight into our sneakers and sports shirt and begin a serious workout, starting our day on the right foot - all before our first coffee.
Our reality... well, it’s definitely less than picture-perfect. We can’t get up every morning with the motivation or strength to move rigorously, many can’t exercise in the morning and sometimes we’re just too tired.
On days like these, when you get up without energy, you really can’t think about working out. So, don’t push yourself. There are alternatives that won’t take away your limited strength, and they’ll help you feel ready to start the day. In fact, although morning workouts have a lot of health benefits, if you’re very tired and unfocused, you won’t benefit that much from exercising. So, what are some choices?
Light stretches gently stimulate the body and brain to gradually awaken. Stretch your arms over your head and look up, then bend down slowly, vertebra after vertebra, until your fingers touch the floor or your toes. Let the head and neck be relaxed downwards. Gently bend one knee and straighten the other, then switch between them. Repeat this several times for a deeper stretch of the back thigh muscles.
Okay, we understand that full training is too much this morning. So, it’s possible to make do with warm-ups. Do a few minutes of resistance exercising with your body weight, at a moderate intensity and at a leisurely pace - squats, for example.
If you do them at a moderate pace, you’ll work out the thigh, buttocks and core muscles. If after you finish them you feel that you can do more, perform exercises that will help warm up your nervous system, which is responsible for the synchronization between the brain and body. Quickly run or jump in place for a few minutes.
Another good way to start the day is with movement exercises - rotating your hips, pelvic thrusts, or squats. Also, perform movements that expand the range of motion, such as gradual hand rotations in wrists, forearms, and shoulders. Afterward, your body will feel less “creaky” when you get out of bed, and in addition, improving your range of motion will also enhance your performance in future training and reduce the risk of injuries.
Yoga is a light and friendly workout which can be adapted to different levels of intensity and skill. It works on the whole body and includes breathing and concentration exercises. Yoga is liked by many fitness trainers who consider it a perfect morning workout. It stretches the muscles, works on the body’s range of motion and also on the connection between the brain and body - so it checks all the crucial areas when your day starts. On a morning devoid of energy or time, you can totally settle for a few repetitions of downward dog or sun salutation.
Grab a bottle of water and headphones and go for a short walk around the neighborhood. Even if you don’t burn a lot of calories, you’re still moving your body, helping to start your blood pumping into your veins and stretching bones and muscles.