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James Logie

4 Simple Morning Workouts to Start Your Day

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James Logie
James Logie
Photo by Gabin Vallet on Unsplash

What you do in the morning helps to set yourself up for the rest of the day.

If you want to take control of the day, that means taking control of your morning — which also included exercise.

I’ve been a personal trainer for over 20 years, and I used to despise the idea of working out early. Now, it’s the only time I want to.

If you dread the idea of working out first thing — it’s worth giving it a shot.

Exercise first thing can help wake you up and make you feel more energized for the rest of the day. It also may help you sleep better that night.

Early morning exercise may also help boost creativity, critical thinking, focus, and memory.

I need all the help I can get to boost brain function, and I found that working out first thing really helped with focus and creativity.

You always want to check with your doctor regarding physical activity, but here are some simple early morning workouts to consider.

1. Walking

It’s so easy to dismiss walking — but it’s such a valid form of exercise that we need to take advantage of.

If you work a sedentary job, it may be a good idea to start the day with a walk before you have to sit for long periods.

Walking is so beneficial because it’s a low-impact form of exercise — so it’s easier on the joints and knees than running.

You can also do it anytime, anywhere, and it’s free — which is my absolute favorite price.

The great thing with simple walking is you don’t have to psych yourself up to do it and you can just wake up and go.

Keep your shoes and whatever you would wear by your bed to make the transition easier.

Even just 15–20 minutes can help to wake you up and energize you. Ideally, you will go at a brisk pace, but not so fast that you can’t carry on a conversation.

2. Circuit Training

Circuit training is great because you can use exercises that only require body weight.

You don’t need any equipment, and, again, we can do it anywhere. You can do this in your own home, or find a nice outdoor space if the weather is nice.

Circuits are great because they can always be different. No two workouts need to be the same, and this will prevent it from getting boring.

It’s a good idea to start with a 5–10 minute warmup to get the heart rate up and blood flowing to working muscles.

This warmup could be a brisk walk, or some dynamic stretching involving leg and arm swings.

A simple way to set up a circuit is to take 3–4 exercises and do them all in a row for 30 seconds each.

That means the whole round will take you 90–120 seconds depending on how many exercises you choose.

You can then rest 60–90 seconds before repeating it again. You can do 2–3 rounds of this — or a few more if you’re feeling up for it.

But you don’t need to do too many to wake yourself up and boost your energy.

You want to finish a workout feeling good and motivated — not collapsed on the ground in a puddle of sweat.

What makes circuits great is how you can progress the workouts. You can do the 3–4 exercise for 30 seconds each for a few weeks, then move it up to 45 seconds for each exercise for 3 rounds.

Or you could do 4–5 exercises for 30 seconds each for 4 rounds.

Circuits provide you a quick workout with endless variation. Here are a few great exercise choices to create a simple, bodyweight circuit.

  • burpees
  • pushups
  • mountain climbers
  • planks
  • push-ups
  • leg lifts
  • crunches
  • skater hops
  • bodyweight squats
  • jump squats

3. Swimming

Swimming is pretty incredible. It gives you a full-body workout with no impact. You get to work on your cardiovascular system and muscular endurance system at the same time.

You work every muscle in your body, and it’s a great core workout.

It’s another great choice if you have any injuries but still want to be active.

Just walking through the water can provide some resistance and exercise without causing knee, joint, or ankle issues.

If swimming isn’t your strong suit, you can start with just doing those walking laps back and forth.

After a while, try mixing in some periods of swimming until you feel more comfortable.

4. Low-Intensity Interval Training

Everyone knows about high-intensity interval training, but the low-intensity alternative may be a great choice for an early morning workout.

It also may be more practical depending on your age or any injury issues.

It’s also done outside, simple, and just involves walking. The concept is the same as HIIT, but, as the name implies, is of lower intensity.

Low-intensity interval training works well with a walking/jogging combination, but a faster-paced walk can replace the jogging.

Here’s a simple breakdown of what it looks like:

  1. Start walking at your usual pace for 3 to 5 minutes
  2. go into a light jog — or faster-paced walk — for around 90 seconds
  3. go back to that regular walking pace for 3–5 minutes
  4. repeat this process over the course of 30 minutes

Our bodies respond well to variations in fitness and this way of training may be a good way to give your fitness a boost and lose some body fat.

Most importantly, It works really well as an early morning workout to wake yourself up and feel more energized.

Final Thoughts

Morning exercise works best when it’s simple — especially if you’re not used to working out this early.

You can get more specific as you progress, but the idea is to just get up and moving.

It’s hard to face the prospect of physical activity that early, so keeping it on the simple side makes it more doable.

Exercise in the morning really is something that gets easier as you do it. After a while, it may be the only time you want to work out.