Mornings are often a hectic affair. Sleeping until the last possible minute, rushing through your shower, getting kids off to school or the dog walked, and scrambling to find your keys before hustling out the door, is how many of us start our days. While we know that exercise can help set the day off on a more positive note – increased energy and focus, boosted metabolism, enhanced mood, and better nutritional choices to name a few – it can be hard to fit movement into your morning when you’d rather hit snooze.
Here are a few ways to make a morning workout not only something you enjoy, but something that can consistently fit your schedule!
There is a woman in my neighborhood that is the epitome of this tactic. She can be seen getting her morning run in, while pushing the baby in a jogging stroller AND toting the dog along with her. (I like to imagine she’s also got a load of laundry in the dryer, but I’ll never really know.) My point is, she has a lot of things to do, but she fits her exercise around all of them. The dog needs to go out and you can’t leave a baby alone (at least that’s what I understand), and since it’s 7am I’m going to assume she needs to get somewhere after. So she does it all at the same time.
You don’t have to do this exactly, but see if there are tasks in your morning routine that can be put in motion. Listen to a podcast while you stretch or do bodyweight exercises, catch up with a friend or family member on a morning walk, run/walk/bike to work, take the dog out for a run or listen to an audiobook while on the elliptical.
Take a Class
It’s hard to get yourself out of a comfy bed to workout on your own, and your creative juices aren’t exactly flowing in that first hour. This is what group classes are made for. You have a set time to be there and a set end time – many gyms offer express classes in the morning to get you in and out – and you don’t have to think about what to do next or how long to do it. Not everyone enjoys a heart pumping cardio class first thing in the morning, so if that’s not your jam, try a yoga or strength training class. Anything to get your body moving and your mind awake.
Keep it Close, Keep it Clean
It’s often not the workout that you don’t have time for, but the commute and shower that come with a tough gym session. To benefit from some morning movement, you don’t have to make it a sweat fest. Keep things low impact for cardio and try strength training through bodyweight exercises to keep the sweat to a minimum and the commute to zero. This way your 30 minute workout is actually 30 minutes, not over an hour. Dry shampoo is a lifesaver for these early morning endeavors. For 30 minute and under bodyweight workouts, click here, or search YouTube or Fitness Blender for low impact workouts you can do at home!
Shower on Site
If you like a sweaty workout to start your day, consider having a shower bag and using the showers at the gym or – if you’re one of the luck ones – at work. Eliminating the back and forth from the gym saves a lot of time and won’t limit the type of workout you do.
If you never fit movement – yes, stretching counts! – into your mornings, start slow. Aim for 20 minutes of some type of activity two mornings a week. Experiment with different tactics until you find something that makes you feel good and you look forward to. Add on from there in either time or frequency.
Something as simple as a 20 minute stretching routine while listening to your favorite music can turn your morning from a crazy, time-strapped blur to positive and empowering me-time.
For more 30 minute bodyweight workouts, check out my ebook, Strongher in :30 and get fit at home!