Exercising before work helps wake you up, gets you mentally prepared for the day, and jump-starts your metabolism, but we can’t all be freak-of-nature
morning people. Getting some exercise in before heading to your job doesn’t have to mean waking up at the crack of dawn. Doing some simple exercises,
taking no more than 15 or 30 minutes, can counteract the hours you’ll spend sitting and give you some awesome physical and mental health benefits. Try working these
seven easy exercises into your morning routine and feel the quick effects of getting moving.
Cats and dogs have it right: when you wake up, it’s time to stretch. Stretching in the morning can increase flexibility and improve circulation. Stretch
your arms over your head, lean to each side, and bend over to touch your toes. Consider stretching your neck, lower back and chest. And don’t be afraid to get on the
ground to stretch your legs and any muscle you can think of.
You don’t have to be an expert Yogi in order to do some easy poses before work. Start with some beginner positions like cat-cow pose, downward dog, and
warrior one; if you hold each for a minute or two, you’ve still used up less than 10 minutes/ As you get the hang of it, add some more difficult positions—camel pose, extended side angle, pigeon, etc. Find the
positions that get you focused and make you feel good, and stick with them.
Anyone over the age of two can take part in this easy exercise; just stand up and walk somewhere. Take a walk around your neighborhood or if there’s a park
or trail nearby, use it. Don’t worry about walking miles every morning, because even just a few hundred extra steps a day can make you healthier and more
fit. If you want to count your steps for the whole day, buy a pedometer, wear it all day, and see how many you normally take. Then make an effort to add to
that number in the mornings.
Lifting weights might make you think of greased-up bodybuilders, but using free weights before heading out in the morning can be useful for almost anyone.
If you want to bulk up, you’ll want to get heavier weights and do fewer repetitions, but if you just want to get a little stronger and burn some calories,
try light weights with more reps. It’s a fast, easy way to tone up, and you can work on all kinds of muscles in your upper body.
Your ease in tackling this might depend on your fitness level. Also known as a burpee, this exercise is a cardio and strength workout in one. It combines
jumping, squats, and pushups, and you will definitely get plenty of bang for your buck (or for your extra 15 minutes, as the case may be) by doing this in
the mornings. Start a squat, but instead of raising up, hop into push-up position, and do a push-up. Then bring your feet up by your hands in one motion,
and stand up. Many serious fitness buffs use 10 or 15 of these as a stand-alone workout when they are short on time.
If you have stairs inside your house, you’re already primed for the perfect workout. Just throw in five or 10 extra trips up and down the stairs while
you’re getting ready in the morning, and you’ll be working out your heart, legs and lungs. If you want to make things harder, skip steps on your way up, go
up backwards, or hop up a couple steps and then back down. Even if you just have a few stairs somewhere outside your house, stepping up and down them for
five or 10 minutes will get your day going. You’ll feel the burn in no time and can feel good about taking the elevator to your office.
This is one you’ll definitely want to do in the comfort of your own home, because you’re probably going to think you look ridiculous. No one can waddle
around on their hands and feet belly-up without feeling just a little dumb, but it’s a great workout for your arms and legs, and will stretch the rest of
your body. Crawl around your house for two minutes a few times and you’ll feel it. If that starts to get too easy for you, try lifting one leg at a time
high into the air for extra toning.
Try out different combinations of these exercises for quick workouts before going to work and change them up enough that you don’t get bored.
A version of this story previously appeared on the Life Insurance Quotes website, here.