Nothing says winter mornings quite like burying yourself under the covers and hitting the snooze button. But a recent U.K. study found that people who get out of bead by about 7am tend to be happier, slimmer, and more conscientious than their later-waking peers. To ensure that you reap all the rewards that early rising can afford I have found a great morning fitness routine. These moves help to improve your circulation and body energy levels so you will feel alert and grounded all day long. Practice them regularly and you will also notice increased flexibility and strength and fewer aches and pains. Plus you can do all four moves in the comfort of your own bedroom!
These a.m. exercises will help you feel energized and strong all day long:
Note: If you do not have a firm mattress on your bed, do the first two moves on a mat or blanket on the floor:
1) Cat/Dog Stretch
Get on your hands and knees on top of your bed – your head should be in line with your neck, and your back should be in neutral position (neither sagging nor arching). Make sure your wrists are directly under your shoulders, fingers pointing forward, and your knees are directly under your hips.
[A] Inhale and slightly arch your back, letting your belly relax towards the mattress while pulling your shoulders back and lifting your tail bone toward the ceiling, gaze forward.
[B] Exhale and round your back toward the ceiling while tucking your chin and pointing the crown of your head toward the mattress, like a stretching cat.
[C] Repeat the entire sequence 10 times.
Body benefit: Warms and stretches your back and abdominal muscles.
2) Butterfly Circle
Lie on your left side and bend your knees so your legs form 90-degree angles with your torso. Extend your arms in front of you so that they are perpendicular to your torso.
[A] Take a deep breath, then exhale and contract your abdominal muscles. Inhale, then exhale and keep your arms straight and your legs bent as you roll on to your back and point your arms and knees toward the ceiling.
[B] Without pausing, continue to roll over to your right side and bring your arms and legs down to the mattress.
[C] Repeat in the opposite direction until you have done 10 repetitions on each side.
Body benefit: stretches and strengthens your back, abdominal, shoulders and neck.
3) Bed Dip
Sit on the edge of your bed with your feet flat on the floor and hip-width apart. (use a sturdy chair if you can’t reach the floor from your bed.) Rest your palms flat on the bed next to your thighs, finger tips facing forward.
[A] Supporting yourself on your hands, walk your feet forward 1-2 feet and slide your hips off the mattress.
[B] Bend your elbows and lower your body, knees bent to 90 degrees, until your arms form 90 degree angles.
[C] Hold for 1 second, then rise back to "B" position Perform 2 sets of 10 repetitions.
Body benefit: strengthens your shoulders, triceps and abdominal core muscles.
4) Bedroom Wall Sit
Stand with your back against a wall and your legs out so that they are about 2 feet from the wall, feet hip-width apart.
[A] Keeping your back against the wall , bend your knees and slide down until your thighs are nearly parallel to the floor, making sure your knees do not extend past your toes.
[B] Hold for 10 seconds, then press your feet into the floor and slide back up to the starting position. Repeat 2 more times.
Body benefit: strengthens your thighs, butt, lower back and abdominal muscles.
Maria DiCroce has been in the Health and Wellness industry for over 20 years. Fitness became a passion after attending some local fitness clubs and she became hooked. Always athletic, fitness was second nature. While working as a medical assistant and perfecting phlebotomy it was apparent that she was drawn more and more to the fitness arena. Getting certified with The American College of Sport Medicine – ACSM and AFAA, she decided to follow her passion to help people reach their health and fitness goals with personal training , group fitness and personal fitness coaching.