“Start the day off right.” That’s a great sentiment, but how can you create a morning routine that will keep you happy, fit and healthy? We found out. And it’s a lot easier than you might think. Here are 10 healthy habits that will set you up for success for the rest of the day.
You’d think after a long night’s sleep, that you would instantly feel refreshed and ready to take on the day. But even a good night’s rest can be tough on the body because of the positions we nod off in. According to active.com, sleeping can stiffen the body, and stretching is the way to stimulate and loosen muscle tissues. So go ahead and get right into Child’s Pose and stretch out your back. That in turn will increase blood flow and reduce stress and tension, reports the website. Not sure what to stretch? Go from top to bottom, starting with the neck, shoulders, chest back, quads, hamstrings and calves.
2. Wake Up on Time
Pressing the snooze button, forsaking 10 more minutes of sleep for a rushed morning, a skipped breakfast and the added stress of getting the kids off to school and yourself to work on time, isn’t worth it. Makeuseof.com says that this terrible morning habit can lead to mental health issues, such as anxiety and recklessness, in addition to stress. None of which is a good motivator for working out. Instead the site recommends making sure your alarm clock is effective. Are you more likely to get out of bed with a loud ringing or do you need a more gradual whistle. There are a ton of apps you can try too. It’s really about finding what works for you and to stick with it.
3. Set Your Internal Clock
You know how when you travel your body is set to the clock back home for when it’s time to hit the hay, and when it’s time to rise and shine? Well, for some, that internal (circadian) clock might not be accurate, even at home. And it’s not because they’re lazy or bad people – it’s just who they are. Fitness.com reported on a Harvard Medical School study that discovered those who sleep more than nine hours a night secrete more of the hormone melatonin than those who sleep six hours or less. Check with a health professional to find out if supplementing with melatonin might be right for you.
4. Have a Cup of Lemon Water
An upset gut can wreak havoc on energy levels. So take care of your digestive system with a mug of warm water with lemon. Chatelaine.com suggests that this morning habit “increases the flow of digestive juices, helps to cleanse the body, and resets our pH balance, making us less acidic, which helps reduce the risk of disease.” It may also give your metabolism that nudge it needs in the morning and help combat food cravings.
5. Do Your Workouts in the Morning
The next time you exercise, take note of how you feel before and after. That post-workout glow isn’t just from your glistening (aka sweaty and flushed) skin. Being physically active gives you a huge energy boost. Another benefit: discovergoodnutrition.com says that that early-bird gym sesh gets your heart pumping and the blood flowing, which will help you feel alert.
6. Read in Bed
To get a good night’s sleep, we know to keep technology out of the bedroom. The lit-up screens on our phones and laptops can be too stimulating at night, and the stress from work can also keep us awake. But according to a story on telegraph.co.uk, maybe it’s not such a bad thing to do when you wake up. Reading the news and checking emails are a good way to wake up your mind.
7. Eat an Iron-packed Breakfast
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. There’s no doubt about that. But if it’s lacking in iron, you might be setting yourself up for failure energy-wise. Time.com reports: “An iron deficiency can leave you feeling sluggish, irritable, weak, and unable to focus.” It affects the amount of oxygen your body receives. So make sure your breakfast includes foods like eggs, green leafy vegetables, peanut butter, beans or tofu. And have some orange juice while you’re at it. Time says that the vitamin C will help with iron absorption.
8. Dress Like You Mean It
Whether you work from home or do shifts, you still need to put on a “work wardrobe” when you wake up. Forbes.com says that wearing “comfortable” clothes plays with your mind and your motivation. “You’ll still think it’s relax time.”
9. Calm Down and Meditate
A clear head will make you more focused and allow you to tackle all of your tasks for the day. You won’t get bogged down or make excuses if you’re thinking clearly. Take just five minutes in the morning to meditate. Don’t know how? Find a quite place in your home, get comfortable, put on some relaxing music (or not, if you prefer the silence) and focus on your slow breath. Activevegetarian.com says that even just doing this for one minute every day will bring “mental clarity, spiritual well-being and set the stage for the day.”
10. Don’t Sleep in on Weekends
Don’t screw up your schedule with lies that are too long on Saturday and Sunday. Keep to your sleep schedule, even on weekends, says sparkpeople.com. You’ll be able to squeeze in that weekend workout, have a more productive day off and you’ll eventually stop dreading Mondays. Or at least hate them a little less.