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5 Exercises to Jump-Start Your Morning

morning exercisesMany of us wake up feeling crappy – no matter how much we sleep, it doesn’t feel like enough, and getting out of bed seems like a huge chore. Beginning the day on that note is a recipe for a foul mood.

One way around that? Kick-start your heart with a short exercise, instead of marinating in that morning depression. Starting your day with some physical exercise is a great way to clear the morning fog from your mind and get your motor running.

Along with helping your mood and mental clarity, morning exercise has been shown to reduce your blood pressure.

If you’re interested in reaping these rewards, here are five exercises you can try tomorrow morning.

1. Stretching Inchworm-

This is a great warmup exercise that loosens up your muscles and joints. Start with your feet hip-width apart. Breathe in as you stretch your arms toward the sky, pressing your palms together above your head and inclining your head downward. Breathe out as you fold forward, placing your palms on the floor (bend your knees however much is necessary). Then walk your hands forward from your feet, lowering yourself into a planking position.

Finally, release your hips to the floor, arching your back and stretching your head skyward, then reverse the process until you’re standing again.

2. Jumping Jacks-

This simple move is a classic aerobic exercise for a reason: it tones your calves and deltoids and is fantastic for your cardiovascular health. Plus the adrenaline and endorphins released by raising your heart rate will improve your mood for the day to come. In case you’ve never taken a gym class, here’s how jumping jacks work.

Start with your feet together, then jump, spreading your arms and legs in mid-air. After landing in this position, jump again and return your arms to your side and your feet together.

Repeat for one minute, or longer if you feel like it. It’s that simple!

3. Walking/Running-

A lot of passionate runners report that they most enjoy working out in the morning. Whether you’re an outdoor jogger or more of a treadmill person, a run or a brisk walk is a good way to get your heart rate up before going in to work. A mile or two is enough, especially if you plan on running more later in the day.

Just postpone your morning shower until after you get done sweating!

4. Power Pushups-

Regular pushups are a nice morning exercise, but this variation is especially good for working out your chest, arms, legs, and abdominal muscles. Start out kneeling with your palms on the ground, then thrust your hips behind you so that your body forms an upside-down letter V. Bend your knees to stretch your shoulders, then shift your weight forward and stretch your legs out so you’re in normal pushup position.

Do a full pushup (try to hit the ground with your chest) then return to the letter V position with your knees bent. Go back and forth between the pushup and the ‘V” as much as possible in a minute.

5. Lunges-

This exercise strengthens and tones the muscles in your legs, including your quadriceps, gluteal muscles, and hamstrings, and you can do it in pretty limited spaces.

Start with your feet at shoulder width, then take one giant step forward with your right leg, keeping your hands on your hips and lowering your left knee almost to the floor while keeping your right knee behind your toes. Return to standing, switch to the other leg and repeat.

A set of 16-24 reps (8-12 per leg) is adequate. If you’re really trying for tone, do more exercises but leave a day of rest in between sets.

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