9 Healthy Things To Do Every Morning

October 24, 2012 | posted in: Exercise, Fitness Tip of the Week, Nutrition | by

We don’t always wake up feeling super alert, but hopefully we get those neurons firing before starting our tasks for the day. Most of us complete our most important “work” between 8am and noon, but we also tend to rely on coffee or caffeine to get us through or we may just sleep-walk through the morning. However, there are a few things we can do to keep ourselves more alert, productive and healthy through our mornings (and, hopefully, the rest to the day).

1. Get a full night’s sleep

We need rest between our days, preferably 7 to 8 hours of sleep. This one may seem obvious, but we may be doing things throughout our day that hinder us from this goal. For more information about why and how to get a good night’s sleep, see Time for bed?! Who has time to sleep?

2. Drink agua, H2O, and water

Yes, those are all the same things, but it is so important we should think of it as multiple drinks and continue drinking water throughout the day. The recommended amount of water specifically is 8 servings of 8 oz.; but the he Institute of Medicine advises that men consume roughly 3 liters (about 13 cups) of total beverages a day and women consume 2.2 liters (about 9 cups) of total beverages a day, which should be mostly water. We should try starting our day drinking water to stay hydrated, full and alert. For more benefits of drinking water throughout the day, see Water, H2O, Agua.

3. Exercise

Depending on when we have the most energy usually dictates when we get the most out of our workouts. However, we should all try working out in the morning at least once. We might find that it is a great time to exercise and feel energized for the upcoming day. At the very least, we get our exercise out of the way and we can focus on work and/or daily activities for the rest if the day. When working out in the morning, be sure to have something light and easily digestible beforehand. We have just been “fasting” overnight, so it is helpful for our body to have some quick energy such as juice with a small scoop of whey protein.

If working out in the morning isn’t an option, we should still make time to workout during the day since it helps with getting a good night’s sleep (see number 1).

4. Breakfast, eat it

As mentioned above, our body has been “fasting” overnight while we sleep. In the morning, we want to give our body some energy to jumpstart that metabolism and help us feel more alert. We would also like to start our day in the most healthy way possible, which leads to healthier eating habits throughout the day. This means no doughnut, pastry, sugary cereal or bagel with cream cheese for breakfast. Good breakfasts include oatmeal, low-sugar yogurt, lean meat, and hard-boiled eggs. It doesn’t have to be a big breakfast. If it’s tough to eat in the morning, try something small like a hard-boiled egg and a couple pieces of fruit.

5. Keep a calendar or to-do list

We all know how easy it is to get caught up responding to or cleaning out emails. Not saying that shouldn’t get done, but we should be as productive as possible first thing in the morning. Start your day of with the important to-do list or action items. We can plan, return phone calls and answer emails later in the morning or afternoon, because as soon as we start “fighting fires” via email or phone it will take over the day. We should get in the habit of making a calendar or to-do list of tasks we didn’t get done the day before. Even if we don’t get through with them all in the morning or throughout the day, we can have somewhere to start fresh the next morning.

6. Snack mid-morning

Depending on when we get up in the morning, there may be a large gap between breakfast and lunch that water alone won’t be able to fill. Not to mention, it’s embarrassing when we have a loud stomach growl in the middle of a meeting or our child’s gymnastic class. We can try keeping healthy snacks in a bag or at our desk; things like fruit, vegetables, nuts, healthy trail mix, sunflower seeds or beef jerky. For more information, see Healthy Snacking.

7. Sit up straight

Driving, sitting at a desk or carrying an infant seat on a regular basis can make it hard to keep good posture. However, no one wants a hunchback later in life (probably not PC to say, but it’s true). Try to think about taking a deep breath, rolling our shoulders back and down, lifting our chest and pulling our stomach in tight (see below). We can do these actions standing our sitting and we should get in the habit of doing this multiple times throughout the morning (and the entire day, eventually ;)).

8. Keep that core tight

Think about this while your sitting or standing. The best time is your drive to work or early morning meetings, but you can do this even if you walk to work. First, start with your glutes (your butt muscles). Think about squeezing just your glutes, then alternate right and left glutes, but keep those shoulders relaxed. While walking, think about pushing off your foot and extending that leg back so you can squeeze that glute while stepping down on the other foot. Next, focus on keeping your abs tight, while relaxing your shoulders and breathing. For more tips on this, see Working your “core” is not just sit-ups!.

9. Move periodically

Do we ever take a second during the day to think about where we are tight or sore?  Wherever that spot is, it might be where we keep our tension. Think about moving that spot, i.e., stretching, in whatever way feels good. This could be as simple as getting up and walking around our cubicle maze or around the block. We can set an alarm on our calendar, computer, or phone to go off every hour. This is our reminder to move, stretch, walk, or at least stand up. Important for the morning and throughout the day.

If we find that our low-back is sore, we can do these stretches at home or in a place we don’t mind lying down at the office: Low Back Pain.

Healthy, happy mornings!

Sources:

Williams, Pete; 10 Things Healthy People Do Before Noon. Last Accessed 24th Oct 2012

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