Although some would rather wait until after they’ve finished the day to work out, there’s something about exercising in the morning that gives me the pre-coffee jolt I need to get me going and keep me going all day. Taking the me-time to focus on doing something good for my body and health also really helps me set the tone for the day ahead. Giving myself this time, even if it’s just for 15 minutes, helps me prepare myself so that I can better help others. Here are five exercises that energize me to do just that before heading out the door.
This is a personal favorite pre-exercise to jumpstart my workout for those mornings where I struggle to get myself out of bed (which are most of them) since I’m already in the starting position lying down. There’s something so satisfying about a back crack and this never fails to help me do so. As you lie flat on your back, cross your right leg on top your left with knees bent and feet flat on the bed/mat. Extend both arms out to the side. Scootch your buttocks a few inches to the right and lower both knees to the left while legs are still crossed. Turn your head toward the right past your shoulder and breathe deeply. Slowly raise your knees and adjust your hips back to center. Repeat on the opposite side.
This is a classic yoga pose that warms up and enlivens the spine. Come to a “tabletop” position with your hands and knees on the mat, body perpendicular to the floor. Make sure your wrists are aligned directly underneath your shoulders and your knees directly below your hips. As you inhale, lift your sit bones and chest toward the ceiling for cow pose. Then, exhale and round your back, drawing your belly button up toward your spine like a Halloween cat. Repeat for at least 10 rounds or until your spine is warmed up.
One of yoga’s most widely recognized poses deserves its merit with its large number of benefits. Come to a tabletop position and once you feel comfortable, lift your knees away from the floor and your hips up toward the ceiling. Push yourself up to form an upside down ‘V’ shape with your body. Don’t worry if the heels of your feet aren’t touching the mat – this will gradually happen over time as you continue to practice this pose.
Lie on your back with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor/mat hip-width distance apart. Engaging your core, press your hips upward off the floor but avoid pushing them too high up to prevent overarching the low back. Slowly lower yourself back to starting position.