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Greatest Morning Exercise Routine

greatest-morning-exercise-routine
We get it: waking up early to do a morning workout might not sound like the most appealing way to get your exercise in. After all, many of us lead busy lives, and we need all the rest we can get to keep ourselves going throughout the day. But, what if we told you that there are some major advantages to getting in an AM workout? And that you can get a beneficial full-body routine done in just four minutes, the same amount of time you probably spend snoozing your alarm each morning? It’s true! In this article, we’re going to show you the absolute best morning exercise routine for waking up your body and your mind. This brief circuit will strengthen your core, warm up your hips, knees, and ankles, stretch your spine, increase your hamstring flexibility, and give you a great set of glutes in under five minutes flat. First, let’s talk about some of the advantages to exercising in the morning. A study from researchers at Brigham Young University found that an early workout not only decreases the amount of calories you are likely to consume in a day, but can also increase the amount of overall physical activity you perform over the course of the day<sup>1</sup>. Morning workouts also let you take advantage of increased testosterone levels that can help you build up muscle mass. And of course, an AM exercise routine will let you tap into all of the other amazing benefits you get from exercise including heightened energy and focus, improved overall strength, increased metabolism, and more. Now, let’s get started by learning our four best exercises to get you up, out of bed, and ready to take on the day! <h4><p style="color: rgba(20, 117, 135, 1)">Reverse Crunches</p></h4> Reverse crunches are an ideal move for working the lower abs, a set of muscles many of us tend to overlook. Even better? You can do this move from the comfort of your own bed! We want you to wake up, throw off those covers, and head straight into your morning exercise routine with ease, and the reverse crunch is perfect way to get started. Here’s how to do the reverse crunch: 1. If you aren’t already, lie down on your bed or on the floor. Bend your knees to bring your feet close to you and place your hands face down underneath your butt. <div class="text-left my-5"> <img class="img-fluid w-md-75 image-center" src="https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/wm-wmade-static-media/media/public/Assets/images/morning-exercise-routine-tyler-on-bed.jpg" alt="morning-exercise-routine-tyler-on-bed"> </div> 2. Inhale and bring your knees up as close to your body as you can comfortably. <div class="text-left my-5"> <img class="img-fluid w-md-75 image-center" src="https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/wm-wmade-static-media/media/public/Assets/images/morning-exercise-routine-tyler-legs-raised.jpg" alt="morning-exercise-routine-tyler-legs-raised"> </div> 3. Exhale and tap your heels back on the bed or floor. <div class="text-left my-5"> <img class="img-fluid w-md-75 image-center" src="https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/wm-wmade-static-media/media/public/Assets/images/morning-exercise-routine-tyler-legs-bent-down.jpg" alt="morning-exercise-routine-tyler-legs-bent-down"> </div> One of the most important things to remember here is to keep your lower back pressed into the ground or the mattress. Draw your rib cage towards your belly button to really activate those ab muscles throughout the exercise. <div class="text-left my-5"> <img class="img-fluid w-md-75 image-center" src="https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/wm-wmade-static-media/media/public/Assets/images/morning-exercise-routine-tyler-back-down-info.jpg" alt="morning-exercise-routine-tyler-back-down-info"> </div> You can make this move easier for yourself by bending your legs more to decrease core tension. If you want to make it more challenging, try straightening out your legs as much as you can comfortably. When you’re finished with your reverse crunches, you’ll be ready to move on to the next exercise, the *sit to stand*. <h4><p style="color: rgba(20, 117, 135, 1)">Sit to Stand</p></h4> Don’t worry! We’re not getting out of bed just yet. To start the sit to stand, swing your legs over and come to a seated position at the edge of your bed so you can go straight into the exercise. Here’s how to do the sit to stand: 1. Sit with your heels just outside of hip-width. <div class="text-left my-5"> <img class="img-fluid w-md-75 image-center" src="https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/wm-wmade-static-media/media/public/Assets/images/morning-exercise-routine-tyler-sit-hips-alligned.jpg" alt="morning-exercise-routine-tyler-sit-hips-alligned"> </div> 2. Put 70 percent of your weight on your heels and 30 percent on the balls of your feet. <div class="text-left my-5"> <img class="img-fluid w-md-75 image-center" src="https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/wm-wmade-static-media/media/public/Assets/images/morning-exercise-routine-tyler-foot-explained.jpg" alt="morning-exercise-routine-tyler-foot-explained"> </div> 3. Exhale, put your arms out in front of you, and begin to stand. <div class="text-left my-5"> <img class="img-fluid w-md-75 image-center" src="https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/wm-wmade-static-media/media/public/Assets/images/morning-exercise-routine-tyler-sitting-on-bed.jpg" alt="morning-exercise-routine-tyler-sitting-on-bed"> </div> 4. Stand all the way up and pause briefly. <div class="text-left my-5"> <img class="img-fluid w-md-75 image-center" src="https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/wm-wmade-static-media/media/public/Assets/images/morning-exercise-routine-tyler-standing-by-bed.jpg" alt="morning-exercise-routine-tyler-standing-by-bed"> </div> 5. Inhale and press your butt backward to drop into a seated position, making sure to emphasize moving your hips rather than bending your knees. Keep in mind that you don’t want your knees to wobble in or out as you do the exercise as this can cause pain or injury in the knees. Instead, let your knees track over your toes by checking to see that your femur is pointing in the same direction as your toes. It’s as simple as that! Before we move on to the next exercise, let’s take a moment to learn a little bit more about mornings, your hormones, and the benefits of exercise! <h4><p style="color: rgba(20, 117, 135, 1)">Did You Know?</p></h4> There’s one specific hormone that you want to keep in check if you’re interested in losing weight and regulating your stress levels: *cortisol*. Your body’s supply of this hormone increases when you go into fight or flight mode, helping you to take swift action. It also increases in the early morning hours to allow you to start to wake from sleep. Exercising in the morning lets you take advantage of the energy boost you get from raised cortisol levels. Working out actually decreases cortisol levels overall which is ideal for staying calm, focused, and relaxed. Plus, a 2012 study from the *Journal of Endocrinology Investigation* found that low-intensity exercise, like the workout routine we’ve offered here, reduces your cortisol levels where high-intensity exercise may actually have the opposite effect<sup>2</sup>. Now, that we know how to take advantage of our body’s natural hormonal rhythms, let’s get back to the moves! <h4><p style="color: rgba(20, 117, 135, 1)">Simple Side Bends</p></h4> When you’ve completed your sit to stands, you should be standing up and ready to take on some *simple side bends*. These will really work your obliques, the muscles at the sides of your abs. This move is great for slimming your waist and getting rid of those love handles. Here’s how to do a perfect simple side bend: 1. Place your right hand on your hip and raise your left hand above you. <div class="text-left my-5"> <img class="img-fluid w-md-75 image-center" src="https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/wm-wmade-static-media/media/public/Assets/images/morning-exercise-routine-tyler-stretch-left.jpg" alt="morning-exercise-routine-tyler-stretch-left"> </div> 2. Bend your body to the right side while extending your left hand as far as you can comfortably. <div class="text-left my-5"> <img class="img-fluid w-md-75 image-center" src="https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/wm-wmade-static-media/media/public/Assets/images/morning-exercise-routine-tyler-stretch-left-2.jpg" alt="morning-exercise-routine-tyler-stretch-left-2"> </div> 3. Activate your core to bring yourself back up to standing, then switch to perform the move on the opposite side. <div class="text-left my-5"> <img class="img-fluid w-md-75 image-center" src="https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/wm-wmade-static-media/media/public/Assets/images/morning-exercise-routine-tyler-stretch-right.jpg" alt="morning-exercise-routine-tyler-stretch-right"> </div> As you do this exercise, focus on really extending your arm upward and reaching it across your body. This is going to give you a great stretch, plus it will activate the core muscles on that side of the body. Just make sure that you’re not crumpling up the side of your body that you’re bending. <div class="text-left my-5"> <img class="img-fluid w-md-75 image-center" src="https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/wm-wmade-static-media/media/public/Assets/images/morning-exercise-routine-tyler-stretch-left-check.jpg" alt="morning-exercise-routine-tyler-stretch-left-check"> </div> Last but not least, let’s learn how to do the *drinking bird*. <h4><p style="color: rgba(20, 117, 135, 1)">Drinking Bird</p></h4> The drinking bird—named for the fact that you’ll look like a toy drinking bird when you do it—is a fantastic exercise for working your lower back, hamstrings, core, and more. As the last exercise in this series, it’s great for increasing your energy and getting you ready to take on the day. Here’s how to do the drinking bird: 1. Stand up with your feet directly under your hips. Clasp your hands behind your head making sure to pull your elbows back to keep your chest open. <div class="text-left my-5"> <img class="img-fluid w-md-75 image-center" src="https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/wm-wmade-static-media/media/public/Assets/images/morning-exercise-routine-tyler-hands-behind-head.jpg" alt="morning-exercise-routine-tyler-hands-behind-head"> </div> 2. Inhale and hinge at the hips to drop your torso down as far as you can comfortably. For this exercise, you should have about 90 percent of your weight on your heels to really activate your hamstrings. <div class="text-left my-5"> <img class="img-fluid w-md-75 image-center" src="https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/wm-wmade-static-media/media/public/Assets/images/morning-exercise-routine-tyler-hands-behind-head-bend-forward.jpg" alt="morning-exercise-routine-tyler-hands-behind-head-bend-forward"> </div> 3. Exhale and press through the heels to bring yourself back up to standing. <div class="text-left my-5"> <img class="img-fluid w-md-75 image-center" src="https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/wm-wmade-static-media/media/public/Assets/images/morning-exercise-routine-tyler-hands-behind-head-2.jpg" alt="morning-exercise-routine-tyler-hands-behind-head-2"> </div> One of the most important things here is to keep your back nice and straight throughout the movement. It’s okay to have a slight arch in your lower back, but you don’t want to round your spine. Now that we know how to do all four of our morning routine exercises, let’s put it all together! <h4><p style="color: rgba(20, 117, 135, 1)">Greatest Morning Exercise Routine</p></h4> To make this into a <a target="_blank" href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r26uMBzCM18&t=15s"><b>full workout</b></a>, all you need to do is perform each of these exercises for one minute. Just start off with reverse crunches as soon as you wake up in the morning, then move on to do a minute each of sit to stands, simple side bends, and drinking birds. Because this routine is so short and so simple, you can do it every morning from the comfort of your very own bed. It’s a great way to get yourself ready to tackle the day, plus it’s going to give you a great full-body workout in just four minutes flat. So why not try this speedy and simple workout first thing tomorrow? A few minutes each day could be the key to getting into the best shape of your life! <h5><p style="color: #000000">Resources</p></h5> 1. <a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22617393">Neural response to pictures of food after exercise</a> 2. <a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18787373">Exercise and circulating cortisol levels</a>

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