Morning mini workout

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What we do or don’t do in the morning can have a significant impact on the rest of our day. This is especially true for physical activity. Whether we go to the gym for a workout or knock out some exercises in the bedroom, morning exercise has been shown to increase productivity, improve mood, and encourage healthy behaviors throughout the day. Not to mention it helps keep us attentive during those 8:00 am classes.

Here’s a morning exercise routine that takes only 5-10 minutes. The intensity gradually increases to adequately prepare the muscles for activity. If there’s sufficient space, the first three exercises can be completed in bed! Click the snooze button one less time and give this workout a try.

2-Way Windmills

Lie face down with arms out to the sides, forming a “T.” Lift one leg off the ground and reach that foot towards the opposite side of the body and touch the ground close to your hand. For example, your right foot will touch the ground by your left hand and vice-versa. Your knee will bend and your torso will twist slightly each way. Repeat this movement in an alternating fashion. 1 touch with each foot equals 1 repetition (rep). Perform 5-10 reps.

Now, lie face up with arms out to the sides, again forming a “T.” Perform the same movement. Repeat in an alternating fashion. Perform 5-10 reps. These exercises combine lumbar (lower back) extension and flexion to help stretch and warm up this area of the body which endures stress throughout the day.

Dead Bug

Lie on your back. Bend both legs and lift your feet off the ground. Also raise your arms straight overhead. Simultaneously lower one arm and the opposite-side leg to a few inches off the ground. Make sure to straighten the lowering leg. Reverse the movement and repeat with the other arm and leg. This will challenge the abdomen. Perform 10 total reps, 5 each way.

Hip Bridges

Lie flat on your back with knees bent and feet on the ground. Arms can lie at your sides. Push through your heels, so that your hips come into the air. This should create a straight line from your neck to your knees. Squeeze your gluteal muscles (buttocks) before returning to the ground. Perform 10 reps.

Jumping Jacks

Stand with feet together and arms at your sides. Hop your feet apart and simultaneously swing your arms overhead. Hop your feet back together and swing your arms back to your sides. Perform 20-30 reps.

Pushups Plank

Obtain the plank position. In this position, your hands and feet are on the floor with hips neutral so that your back forms a straight line. From there, bring one forearm to the ground and then the next to slightly lower your body. Then, one at a time, move back to both hands on the ground. Repeat this movement while maintaining a strong plank position. Moving from forearm to hands equals 1 rep. Perform 5-10 reps.

Alternative – Knee Pushups Plank

Obtain the plank position except on your knees. With hips neutral, your back should form a straight line from the shoulders to the knees. Perform the same movement for 5-10 reps.

Bodyweight Squats

Stand with feet about shoulder-width apart. Push your hips back before bending your knees to lower your hips towards the ground. Keep the weight on your heels and maintain wide knees throughout the movement. Start with shallow squats and progressively get deeper to help warm up the knees. Perform 10-15 reps with at least 5 full-range reps.

— Submitted by Frankie R., Lipscomb University