I’m not someone who loves to exercise. (In fact, I didn’t experience an actual gym until I was 23.) I’ll be honest, typical exercise for me involves playing with my dog, cleaning my house and a weekend hike with my hubby. But, I know I need to exercise more (or at all). I recently started incorporating a little exercise into my morning routine, and I have to say, it completely changes my day.
I’ve always liked the idea of exercising before work. But with my Nashville commute, I just couldn’t do it. I would need to get up at 5:15 a.m. or so to get the workout in, get ready and make it to work by 8 a.m. A few months ago though, my commute was omitted when I left my full-time job to pursue freelance work. I now work from home, and there’s no excuse to not fit a little exercise into my day.
About two weeks ago, I started getting up between 6 and 6:15 a.m. to exercise. Tonka and I go for a lap around our neighborhood, sometimes two laps if I’m up early enough. Then, I do about 20-30 minutes of yoga when we get home. (It turns out that Tonka is a great exercise partner. Once I’m awake and he realizes it, he’s immediately excited to go for a walk. And, I don’t want to let him down, so it motivates me to get out of bed. And to top it off, he’s a fast walker! Keeping up with him makes me hold a good pace.)
Overall, I get between 45 to 60 minutes of exercise, and I’m trying to do this four days a week. I know, it’s not a lot. But, I’ve found that adding even just a little exercise to my morning routine has a big effect on my energy and perspective for the day.
Here’s what happens when I exercise in the morning:
- I feel grateful first thing in the morning. When I walk out of my house at 6:15 a.m. or so, the birds are chirping, and everything is still. It’s impossible to not feel blessed and appreciative in that moment. I immediately feel grateful for the day, and I usually say a little “thank you” prayer.
- I feel accomplished by 8 a.m. By 8 a.m., I’ve felt the sunshine on my skin, shared a moment with my sweet pup, exercised, drank a bottle of water and got myself ready for the day. That’s a lot to accomplish so early in the morning! It’s motivating to start my workday knowing that I’ve already accomplished things. It makes me want to keep the momentum going. (Plus, I’m doing something for myself before I tackle the day, which feels good.)
- I make healthier choices throughout the day. I may not be burning a ton of calories during my 45 – 60 minutes of exercise, but it’s enough to make me want to make healthier food choices that day. I may still eat candy or ice cream, but I’m able to control myself more easily.
- I feel good being out in my neighborhood. Since I’ve been walking the neighborhood, I’ve met a neighborhood electrician, as well as several other neighbors, chatted with a woman about her lost cat and overheard local gossip (that Jake and I Googled and realized was completely false). Not to mention, I get to see all the neighborhood kids at the bus stops each day. I really love getting that time in my hyper local community and seeing familiar faces. (Maybe this is because I work from home with no colleagues. But hey, a girl’s gotta do what she’s gotta do.)
- My body feels awake and loose. Jake and I share our queen bed with Tonka, so it can get a little tight sometimes. (Yes, a 14 pound dog does take up a lot of room.) So, sometimes when I wake up, I feel a little stiff. It feels good getting a solid chunk of time for exercise and stretching in the mornings, and it gets rid of any muscle tightness.
I don’t always want to get up and exercise when my alarm goes off. But, then I think of how good I feel during and after my short workout – and how excited Tonka is for the walk – and I get up. Once I’m up and out the door, I never regret it. Now, let’s hope I can keep this up!
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