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- Harvard School of Public Health: Staying Active - Every Body's Path to Better Health
- Cleveland Clinic: Diet, Exercise, Stress and the Immune System
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The Best Morning Exercise Routines
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Most people are a little groggy, slow or stiff when they wake up in the morning. If you use the beginning of your day to exercise, stretch your muscles and get your heart rate going, it can give you an immediate burst of energy and help keep you in a good mood all day long. Choose a routine that appeals to you and combines several different exercises and switch it often for variety’s sake.
Take a Walk
Walking is a natural, ancient form of exercise that is beneficial for many reasons. It’s low impact, so it carries a very low risk of injury, and it naturally incorporates stretching and cardio with strong muscle movements. According to the Cleveland Clinic, basing your morning exercise routine on walking can also boost your immunity since walking stimulates the production of T cells and antibodies. Additionally, walking can be done anywhere and in almost any conditions.
For a very well-balanced, morning exercise routine, strap a couple of light hand weights or leg weights on and walk around your neighborhood at a brisk pace for at least 20 to 30 minutes each day.
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Start your day off with basic flexibility and balance training by doing a few minutes of yoga. According to the healthy living resource HelpGuide.org, yoga is very effective at relieving stress and improving relaxation as well as toning muscles and building strength. Since muscles are sometimes stiff and sore in the morning, using a gentle series of yoga poses is a good way to warm them up and prepare the body for aerobic exercise or more vigorous activity.
If you don’t have a yoga background, try attending some morning classes at a studio so that a teacher can observe your technique and make sure you’re not at risk of injuring yourself. After you become familiar with the moves, practice at home with a yoga DVD or self-guided workout.
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Strength training is one of the most beneficial parts of a complete exercise routine, yet it’s often neglected. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, metabolically active muscle burns far more calories than fat tissue, so building and maintaining muscle mass can help make the body leaner and prevent weight gain.
Try starting a morning routine with basic, at-home strength exercises such as lifting light dumbbells, stretching with a resistance band or using poses that support and hold your own body weight. To get cardiovascular benefits from a strength-based routine, add one five-minute interval of aerobic activity for every five to 10 minutes of strength training you do.
Carly Schuna is a Wisconsin-based professional writer, editor and copy editor/proofreader. She has worked with hundreds of pieces of fiction, nonfiction, children's literature, feature stories and corporate content. Her expertise on food, cooking, nutrition and fitness information comes from a Level 1 personal training certification and years of in-depth study.