4 exercises you can do in the morning to boost your energy

Sarah Hyland

Studying Health Sciences, Writer & Product Trainer
@sarahsciland


24 April 2020

How can exercise give you energy?

Even two weeks of inactivity can be enough for the muscles to lose tone and for fat to settle. For the young, this is easily and quickly reversed with a return to activity. For the less young, a period of inactivity can affect how well the heart and lungs get oxygen to the cells. This is called ‘cardiorespiratory fitness’. It can also affect mitochondria, which are the organelles in cells responsible for energy production. It may take a short spell of ill health to induce fatigue that can be hard to shift but a series of staycations with your telly will do it too.

Different types of exercises will bring benefits for different reasons. Varying the type of exercise can maximise energy levels without too much time or effort. You will still need to get out of bed and put your blasted pants on though.

Some activities that can help improve energy levels in the morning are:

  1. Aerobic exercises
  2. Stretching and flexibility exercise
  3. Resistance exercise
  4. Drinking water.

1. Aerobic exercise

Walking, cycling and swimming are all aerobic exercises. This is the type of exercise that is the best to start with. It strengthens the lungs and gets oxygen to your muscles and around the body. It improves circulation too. If you are stuck at home, or cocooning, do laps around your garden, sofa or kitchen table. Throw on a bit of music or listen to a podcast to keep you company. Start with a 20-minute session and do this 3 times a week. Build up to a 30-minute session, and do it every day if you can.

This is what I am doing every day and it is making a difference. I feel better and my sleep quality is improving.

It doesn't have to be strenuous effort. Studies have shown that low intensity exercise can get a result without having to work too hard. Giving yourself easily-attainable goals means you are more likely to stick to the plan, feel smug, and enjoy yourself. You're also less likely to injure yourself through over-zealous pounding, which is a classic way of putting an end to your good intentions.

Try to do at least six weeks of gentle aerobic exercise to see an improvement in fatigue and energy.

2. Stretching and flexibility exercise

Flexibility is really important for the health of our muscles. Office workers or drivers are often sitting all day in the same position. Even when moving about, you can get by with a very limited range of motion if you don't pay attention to your movements. Stress and anxiety can worsen stiffness, causing you to hold yourself 'frozen' and hunch your shoulders defensively, ever-nearer your ears... It can make neck and back muscles tense and sore. This can be exhausting and can keep you from sleeping well.

Think about the last time you had a good stretch. When muscles aren't stretched or used they shorten and become tight. Short, tense muscles can be easily damaged if overstretched quickly. They can tire easily, feeling stiff and painful.

Stretching exercise makes the muscles longer and more flexible. A flexible muscle has better blood flow and is less easily injured. Damage is more easily repaired. Having a stretch feels good immediately and doesn't take long. The practice of Yoga and Tai Chi involves lots of stretching. Both work with deep breathing too and can help reduce stress and improve sleep.

Make sure that your muscles are warm before you stretch them out. Think about plasticine and playdoh. You give to give them a good warm-up in your paws to make them bendy. Get some blood in there first. And don't bounce; you want to hold a stretch -think ballerina or Michelle Yeoh.

Have a look at our exercise videos especially to help flexibility for some stretches that you can do immediately.

3. Resistance exercise

Not resistance to exercise – silly. Resistance is an exercise that strengthens the muscles. Women, in particular, can lose muscle mass with age, though after the age of 30, men also lose about 3-5% of muscle per decade. Less muscle equals less strength. 

Muscles burn energy when we use them - the energy that our body makes from the food that we eat. When muscles get weak the weight can pile on. With less muscle available to use that energy, it gets converted to fat and stored. This explains why those young people can eat everything around them and stay slim. When you are fifty, you may not have the muscle tone to be able to burn off all the calories you are eating.

A combination of extra weight and weaker muscles can result in feelings of tiredness. Tasks and activities may feel much harder than before. When you're not moving, oxygen doesn't get to your brain as effectively, which can also make you feel more tired and less 'on the ball'.

The way to strengthen your muscles is to get them working. Start slowly, make sure that you are doing the movements properly.

Even doing some arm lifts with a couple of tins of beans can help to build muscles. Squats while you brush your teeth; a push up against the kitchen table. You can find some simple strength exercises here.

4. Drink water - Yes drink water

Do this exercise every day until you have drunk one and a half litres of lovely ordinary water. Take all day; I am not suggesting that you drown yourself in your pyjamas.

Do this for two weeks and you will be amazed at the difference in your energy levels. Dehydration will dry you out like an old prune. Your muscles, eyes and your poor brain will not function well. Drinking water will make you nice and juicy. Supple.

Eating well will help with energy levels too. A diet of sweeties and white stodge will not have you leaping out of bed in the mornings. Alcohol will make you tired the next day and increase your cravings for more stodge.

Try to eat plenty of fresh fruit and veg and every day. Keep the snacks healthy. Eat good quality carbohydrates: brown pasta is better than white. Love your protein and keep it out of the frying pan.

For some yummy ideas visit our recipe pages.

References:

1 https://www.researchgate.net/publication/324628867_Short-term_decreased_physical_activity_with_increased_sedentary_behaviour_causes_metabolic_derangements_and_altered_body_composition_effects_in_individuals_with_and_without_a_first-degree_relative_wit
2 https://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/02/29/the-cure-for-exhaustion-more-exercise/

3 https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/preserve-your-muscle-mass

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