Are you feeding your mind in the morning? And no, we’re not talking about your daily “cup of joe.” Exercise increases development of new nerve cells in your brain. According to a recent study, people who don’t exercise much exhibit greater stress-related atrophy of the hippocampal area of the brain compared to those who are more physically active. You want to keep the stressors down because the hippocampus affects long-and short-term memory.
If that’s not enough motivation, remember that exercise naturally lowers your stress levels and helps increase your self-confidence because it kick-starts the production of endorphins, your feel-good boosters.
Try these 9 moves to get your body moving in the morning:
A basic plank is supporting your body weight on your elbows and using your legs to lift off the ground until you’re parallel with the floor. Keeping your core tight, hold for as long as you can.
2. Superman stretch
For this exercise, lie on your stomach and lift your arms and legs a few inches off the ground, mimicking how Superman flies in the sky. This yoga and Pilates move really gets your blood flowing.
3. Corner stretch
Stand facing the corner of a room. Raise your elbows to shoulder height. Place your forearms, elbows and palms against either way in the corner. Now lean in and flex your chest and back muscles. Hold for 15 seconds while breathing deeply. This can also be done throughout the day if you’re feeling stressed.
Try to add one more push-up every day. Do sets of 10 to make it easy.
5. Wall sit
Stand with your back against the wall and your feet about a foot and a half in front of you. Slide down the wall until your legs create a 90-degree angle, making sure your knees do not move past your ankles. Hold this position for as long as you can.
Sit on the floor with your knees bent and your feet on the ground. Lift your feet off of the ground so you’re balancing on your bottom and move your arms out to the side. To do one rep, straighten your legs out in front of you and take your back down until it almost touches the floor then sit back up, keeping your feet off the floor the entire time.
Sit with your legs crossed in front of you. With a hand on either knee, push your knees gently toward the floor.
Take several trips down to the basement or up to the attic. If you bring items with you, you’re also helping declutter your house.
You can take a walk around your neighborhood, stroll through a park or, if you’re close enough, walk to work.