Hibernation feels like an ideal solution when temperatures drop. On days when the polar winds rip through even the fluffiest of down puffer coats, hiding under mounds of warm blanket cocoons beats scraping webs of frost from windshields.
Unfortunately, we humans —unlike many woodland creatures— have to push through bitter cold and move on with the day. That means kicking off the cozy covers and climbing out of bed.
The winter season leads to many mornings where the bed feels like the happiest home. Hibernation would be great, but the human world requires work –and movement— for a paycheck and that means rolling out of bed and getting out the door. Skip the sedentary urge to hit the snooze button, and instead fuel the body with a healthy morning dose of fitness.
Exercising releases endorphins that make us feel happy... yes, “runner’s high” is real. Embrace activities each morning that jumpstart the senses and encourage physical fitness. Sounds too daunting? Get motivated to move on cold blustery mornings with these amazingly simple fitness ideas:
Zen & the Art of Yoga
Moving beyond the cold conditions means getting the mind to a happier place. Relax while stretching and strengthening the body with yoga. Those new to yoga need to begin with easy positions best suited for beginners like the mountain pose or the cobra pose. Breathing is vital to yoga, and all new yogis should understand how the power of the breath influences the body’s ability to create the unique postures. Without mindful breathing, most yoga contortions would be impossible.
Wake up the body by working the abs. Crunches are the cliché of abdominal exercises, but they work. If the body isn’t used to crunches (or sit-ups), start slow, otherwise, the abs will hurt too badly to crunch again. Aim for feeling the burn, but stop if the core feels too sore or overworked. Some beginners might only do 20 crunches at first —that’s fine. The goal is to add to the reps and numbers every few days. Regardless of what number the body hits the first time, crunches will awaken the body.
Stretch it Out
Some mornings, the body just feels sore. How we sleep affects how we feel. If the body has pulled the wrong way or the neck has rested too long in one poor position, stretching might help. Everyone can benefit from stretching, and the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) says that “Adults should do flexibility exercises at least two or three days each week to improve range of motion.” The effectiveness of the stretch, however, is dependent on the technique. The ACSM recommends holding each stretch for 10 to 30 seconds and also advises warming the muscles before stretching.
For those without a lot of space, a jump rope workout is ideal. Almost everyone jumped rope as a kid, it’s easy and so much fun. Best of all: jump ropes are super cheap. You can even snag a rope at the dollar store. While it won’t be the greatest quality, it will work just fine.
There are no special instructions for jumping. Start out by seeing how many reps you can complete and then work on increasing speed. Jumping rope is great cardio and also zaps calories. When jumping indoors, just keep in mind not to do it on the carpet or it can grab your shoes and lead to a sprained ankle.
Basements are the perfect location for hooping workouts. Hula hoop fitness routines are all the rage, and they provide great bodily benefits. Kelly Osbourne credits hoola hooping to helping her shed 70 pounds, and Michelle Obama, Beyoncé, and Zooey Deschanel also hoop it up. Hooping with a weighted hoop burns about seven calories a minute and gets the heart pumping. The waist and hip rotations used to keep the hoop in motion also help tone the core.
Want to make your morning routine active with a yoga retreat? Go to BookYogaRetreats.com and search among thousands of great yoga holidays on offer!