5 Great Exercises to Start Your Day the Right Way

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For some people, getting out of bed in the morning is one of the best parts of their day. For the rest of us, it’s snooze buttons and dragging to the coffeepot while we try to clear our bleary eyes and muddled brains, to get them ready for a new day.

Whichever kind of person you are, there are ways to really kick off your day the right way – and getting your mind and body on the same page, revved up and ready to go, is definitely my pick. Exercising first thing in the morning helps you focus, release tension, and even reduce anxiety going forward.

If you’re into it, here are 5 exercises you can do really quick that will make you happy you didn’t hit the snooze button after all. Celebrity fitness expert Ridge Davis added Magdalena Cadet, a board-certified rheumatologist at NYU Langone.

5. A full-body warmup.

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Certified personal trainer Lisa Mateo recommends stretching the following body parts.

  • quads,
  • hamstrings,
  • hips,
  • shoulders,
  • and triceps
  • …along with some quick cardio moves, like jumping jacks or high-knee runs.

4. Dead bug to take on that pesky back pain.

Celebrity fitness expert Ridge Davis loves this move, because it helps with core stability and prevents – or eases – lower back injuries.

  • You’ll want to use a padded surface, then “lay on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor and arms straight alongside your torso.”
  • You want to keep your lower back pressed into the floor as you lift your hands with your elbows above your shoulders and fists facing each other.
  • Then, exhale and raise your legs with knees directly over your hips before slowly lowering your right arm and left leg until they’re just above the floor.
  • As you inhale, bring them back to the starting position and repeat the entire motion on the opposite side to complete one repetition.

3. A tree pose that wakes up your legs and core.

Peloton yoga and meditation instructor Kristin McGee says this pose is perfect for starting your day, because it “promotes balance and stability in the legs and core.”

She also thinks it helps “to focus the mind” and sets you up “for a successful day.”

  • She tells her students to “start by standing tall with your back straight, shoulders relaxed and both feet together (ankles and inner foot points touching).
  • Once feet feel firmly planted, shift your weight to your right foot, lift your left foot off the floor, bend your left knee and position your left foot onto the inside of your right thigh.”
  • Once you’ve got your legs right, keep your arms in a prayer position in front of your chest or over your head.

It’s all about balance, so worry about that first and work up to holding it for more time.

2. Squats, to help with mobility.

Magdalena Cadet, a board-certified rheumatologist at NYU Langone, votes for squats.

“Squats are one of my favorite exercises, especially in the morning. They help improve mobility while working the ligaments and connective tissue. Squatting can also aid in joint support.

If you’ve got knee, back, or hip issues, though, you might want to go a different route, and regardless, you need to make sure your form is correct.

“Hips and ankles should be facing outward, and you should not extend your knees past your toes and you should keep your legs no wider than shoulder width apart.”

Start with 5 second reps and increase the time and number of reps as you build up tolerance.

1. A downward dog to engage your body and brain.

McGee also recommends downward-facing dog, because it can “stretch and strengthen the entire body,” and “gets blood flowing to the brain, which is great for waking up.”

You start on all fours, with your wrists aligned with your shoulders and toes tucked in. As you exhale, you push your hips up and straighten your legs, continuing to push upward as your shoulders move away from your ears.

“Keep your core, legs and arms engaged and your kneecaps lifted, and pedal your legs back and forth to loosen up any tightness in the legs or lower back.”

I know I make jokes, but I really hate the person who invented the snooze button. Like. Just think how productive we would all be if we never had the option of going back to bed!

What do you do to put yourself in the right frame of mind first thing in the morning? Share with us in the comments!