How to Exercise Early in the Morning

Exercise Early in the Morning

Early morning, before the demands of the day begin to pile up and put pressure on your busy schedule, is the best time to work out for many people. In addition, exercisers who work out in the mornings are more likely to create and stick with exercise routines as a habit, the American Council on Exercise notes. Your muscles, however, are at their coolest in the early hours and require more time to warm up in order to prevent injury and to maximize fitness gains.

Five Minutes at a Time
Body Revolution TV's Steve De la Torre and the American Council on Exercise agree that if you don't get up and complete your workout in the morning, you probably won't get it done. De la Torre suggests making an agreement with yourself to work out for five minutes every morning, and after that five minutes to assess whether you will continue with your workout for that day or move on to something else. After continuing this routine for a while, you will have developed a habit of getting up and getting moving first thing in the morning, every morning.

Streamline Your Mornings
Make an effort to plan for your morning the night before. This might mean laying out your keys and prepping your breakfast ahead of time, setting the auto-brew on the coffeepot and even wearing your gym clothes to bed. Instead of being a slave to your morning, make your morning work for you. As you lie down in bed the night before a workout, review exactly when you're going to wake up, what workout you are going to do and how great you are going to feel afterward. This way you'll wake up anticipating all of the positive things you will experience as a result of getting up and working out -- even if it's only for five minutes.

Warm-Up Is Especially Important in the AM
It is important to warm up properly before any workout, but warming up in the morning is especially important because your body is at its coolest within just a few hours of waking up. A warm-up will dilate your blood vessels, raise your body temperature to increase flexibility and reduce injury risk, and minimize stress on your heart. The American Heart Association recommends at least a five- to 10-minute warm-up, with longer warm-up time for longer duration activity, and then starting out the activity slowly and easing into the maximum effort for that workout. A quick and easy warm-up routine might include jogging in place, jumping jacks, high-knees, butt-kicks, jumping rope or any other activity that gets your breath and blood flowing and raises your heart rate. Even if you are just doing your daily five minutes, start off with 20 jumping jacks to get your body ready for exercise.

The Best Morning Exercise
The best type of exercise to do in the morning really depends on what your goals are. If you are doing a five-minute sequence, try jumping jacks, squats, pushups, lunges, crunches and pullups. If you are a runner, try alternating every other day between running and cross-training. Working out at home may be more convenient, but once you are out the door and either at the gym, at a yoga or cross-fit class, on the road running or biking, or at the pool -- you are probably going to go ahead and follow through with your entire workout. If you're very disciplined, you can do a body-weight workout or a video at home. Either way, the most important part is to knock out that first five minutes. It might just define your whole day.