Dark mornings and warm beds are the seasonal combination that makes the very idea of leaping out of bed to kick off your day enough to pull the blanket over your head. But duvet days are a luxury few can afford and there are some very simple and highly effective ways to gear yourself up every morning.
Employ these five tools, five days a week, and you’ll feel motivated become more mobile and perform better whether you’re working or playing. In fact they’re so effective that when the time for the Saturday sleep-in arrives you’ll be itching to get up and go all over again…
1. Palm Your Eyes For a Super Sunrise
The limited light early on sends signals to the brain that it’s quite legitimate to hit the snooze button but instead of getting extra shut eye devote those ten minutes to letting in the light with this ancient yogic practise.
Stand in front of a window with your eyes closed and your palms together. Apply pressure between the palms as you vigorously rub them together and notice how the friction this generates creates warmth. Rest the palms over the eye sockets and stretch the fingers far and wide. Feel the warmth of the hand in the eyes and as you do so softly blink behind the hands.
Then leave your eyes open and take your hands down. Return to blinking as you open your eyes and then draw the curtains open too. As you adjust to the light also turn on the light in the room itself to awaken the body even more.
2. Breath With Your Belly to Wake Up and Work Out
Controlling breath can have a profound effect on energy levels and mood, and if the first full intakes of air of the day draw in plenty of oxygen and stimulate your abdominals you’ll be feeling energised and ready to move.
Stand tall with your lips very slightly parted and begin to breath in and out through the nose. As you do so you’ll notice the natural movement in the belly as you breath caused by the rise and fall of the diaphragm.
After a few breaths make your next inhale as full as is comfortable and then pumping the air out by rapidly drawing your abdominal muscles in. Repeat ten breaths this way and aim to progressively extend the capacity of your inbreathe and the number of pumps you need to push the air out. Advance this by standing tall when you breath in and gradually bending the body forward (much like you would during a sit-up) when you pump the air out.
We promise the practise will have you ready to move.
3. Do Some Dancing With the Stairs
Next prepare your body for moving by going down and back upstairs a ten times. Walk on your way down and jog on your way up. It’s a simple but effective way to elevate your heart rate in the comfort of your own home and will quickly raise your heart rate and get your body warm in approximately two minutes.
4. HIIT the Ground Running
The chances are you’re on a schedule in the morning so you won’t have time to complete a one-hour aerobic circuit, but just 10 minutes of simple High Intensity Interval Training exercises can consume impressive amounts of calories and have an energising effect that will keep you invigorated all day long.
Squat jumps, burpees, mountain climbers, running on the spot and jumping jacks are just a few examples of what you can do. Time yourself to work to you max for 45 seconds, and rest for 15 for each exercise.
5. Take a Little Time to Tone
As this is a five-day program split your strength work as follows:
Day one Arms
Day two Legs
Day Three Abs and back
Day Four Arms
Day Five Legs
To get the most out of your time we recommend using heavy kettlebells, dumbbells, medicine balls and/or barbells and performing exercises with weights that you can just about manage 15 reps of. As well as waking you up, this style of training has been proven highly effective for people aiming to lose weight.
Keep the exercises simple but effective… bicep curls, tricep extensions, deep squats, lunges with wide wing arms, Russian twists, kettlebell swings….
Get all your weight work done in 6 minutes.
Shower, Eat and Go
If you take one minute to palm and another minute to complete your breaths then you only need 20 minutes to complete this entire, very easy program. That’s a slice of time most people have in the mornings or one for which a slightly earlier alarm call is justified.
Stick to it for four weeks and your energy levels will soar and your quality of sleep will improve too (as long as you allow yourself at least seven hours).
And when the sunny mornings return in the spring you’ll be bouncier than the Easter Bunny!