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Workout Tips

This section of our health library is devoted to – you guessed it – workout tips! Learn about all things fitness in these articles that are designed to help you get up and get moving, regardless of your physical ability.

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Move and Motivate Your Body Toward Better Health



Move and Motivate Your Body Toward Better Health

For most of us, getting out of bed is the hardest part of the entire day. And realistically, most of us wouldn’t give up an hour’s worth of sleep for anything, especially to hit the gym at the crack of dawn. Here are just a few of the benefits of motivating morning work outs.

Food for thought

A recent study conducted at Appalachian State University found that morning workouts are best if you desire a better night’s sleep - and who doesn’t? The researchers tracked the sleep patterns of participants, aged 40-to-60, who walked on a treadmill for 30 minutes, three times a week. Participants also worked out at three different times: 7 a.m., 1 p.m. or 7 p.m. Turns out, those who hit the treadmill at 7 a.m. slept longer and had deeper sleep cycles than those who exercised at other points throughout the day. In fact, the morning crowd spent up to 75-percent more time in the reparative “deep sleep” stage at night.

A 75-percent increase in deep sleep? That sounds like a dream come true.

How to get the most out of your morning workout routine

Here are some really easy tips to get you going in the morning so you can have that satisfying morning workout.

Put on your workout clothes. Just put them on and give it a second. The simple act of gearing up for your workout may be enough to get your butt out the door.

Eat a healthy breakfast. Food is fuel. Having good stuff in your body will allow you to get the most out of your morning workout.

Wait until it’s light out. Your body is much more inclined to want to work out when the natural light is out to help wake it up.

Start with low-intensity workouts. Be sure to progress naturally. You have plenty of time to get into a routine, so don't rush into a routine that is too strenuous and causes burnout.

Lastly, don't forget to pat yourself on the back when you hit small goals.

What workouts should you do?

If you’re not normally a morning person and the thought of an early morning workout just makes you want to hide under the covers, here’s a neutral morning wake-up call that you can do at home:

Perform some simple body-weight exercises such as pushups, split squats, overhead reaches and lunges, holding the stretch position in each movement. You should aim for 10 reps on each exercise and run through the circuit twice. This will get your blood flowing, wake up your muscles, mind and nervous system. It also burns calories and kick starts your metabolism.

If you love being in the water, here’s a rejuvenating swimming exercise that’s perfect for beginners.

According to Olympic swimmer, Ricky Berens, it’s important to mix up your swimming routines if you want to stay in shape. Swimming workouts are also great motivating morning workouts too. Swimming for distance is important because it will help build muscular and aerobic endurance. Start your warm-up with a kickboard for 200 meters. Complete a 500-meter freestyle and rest for two minutes. Complete a 400-meter freestyle followed by a minute and a 30-second rest. Then, if you’re feeling up to it, repeat this cycle again starting with 200 meters and working your way back up to 500 meters.

If you’re looking for something a little low key that will also help you relax in the morning, here are some more soothing options.

If you want some more mellow options for a motivating morning workout, you could always find a nice, relaxing place to go for a walk or try your hand at some morning yoga for basic flexibility and balance training. Yoga is very effective at relieving stress and improving relaxation as well as toning muscles and building strength.

And if you love being at the gym, here’s an exercise plan for you.

If you’re a gym rat at heart and you love your morning workouts, according to www.livestrong.com, adults should perform a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise every week along with at least two full-body strengthening workouts. To achieve two full-body workouts, it’s best to split up your strength training sessions to target your upper body one day and your lower body the next day. Do not work the same muscle groups two days in a row. Complete two-or-three sets of eight-to-12 repetitions of each exercise during those workouts. Before beginning your strength-training workouts, it’s important to perform cardio exercise to warm up your muscles. Try doing 40 minutes of cardio three days a week and 30 minutes for one day a week.

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