5 Morning Exercises That Will Prep Your Brain for the Day

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There are people who spring right out of bed, ready and willing to greet another day with a smile.

Then there are the rest of us, and I gotta say, waking up is hard to do. And while coffee or a quick walk with the dog can go a long way toward shaking yourself awake if you’re looking to really get yourself in the right mindset to tackle a new day, these 5 morning exercises are pretty helpful.

5. Meditate.

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Jennifer Wolkin, a New York City-based clinical neuropsychologist, says that there’s science behind why it’s so effective.

“Studies have found that the amygdala, known as the brain’s ‘fight or flight’ center and the seat of our fearful and anxious emotions, decreases in brain cell volume after mindfulness practice.

The impact mindfulness exerts on our brain is born from routine – a slow, steady and consistent reckoning of our realities, and the ability to take a step back, become more aware, more accepting, less judgmental and less reactive.”

4. Read something.

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It can be hard to remember how important it is to unplug, relax, and do something to stimulate your mind. Reading is the perfect answer, whether it’s a book, newspaper, or even an online article you’ve saved but haven’t made time for yet.

Jason Liauw, a neurosurgeon at Saddleback Memorial Medical Center in Laguna Hills, CA, said the following…

“Some of the best activities to perform are ones that enrich the brain with new information, like reading.

Taking in a good book or the morning paper is not only a calming way to start your day, but it also can help you reorient your priorities, taking you momentarily out of the daily grind from yesterday before today begins.”

3. Play a quick logic game.

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Learning something every day promotes brain health and creates vital new neural connections, says Wolkin.

“Even just taking a stab at a crossword puzzle or taking online quizzes that challenge your mind, can help build cognitive reserves.”

Dr. Kristin M. Mascotti adds,

“It’s important to keep brain-boosting activities constantly changing with increasing complexity as well as cross-training brain activities that use different parts of the brain.”

2. Exercise.

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Obviously exercise is good for you, but Wolkin says there are some extra reasons to sneak one in before work.

“Exercise actually alters brain chemistry and has even been likened to the effect of taking antidepressants.

It signals the release of several key neurotransmitters, many of which play a vital role in keeping our brain sharp as we age.”

The increased oxygen flow also translates to better and sharper decision making, judgment, and memory.

1. Get a good night’s sleep.

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70% of adults in American report not sleeping well on a regular basis, and expert Dian Griesel says that’s not so good for the morning after.

“Sleep is proven in countless studies to help our ability to recall – which directly affects our capability to control both our behavior and learning.

Sleep deficits actually result in performance comparable to intoxication.”

Keep your room dark and cold, keep the television off, and hope your kids sleep through the night.

I think I’m going to give these a try; can’t hurt, right?

How do you set yourself up for a day of success? Share your tips in the comments!