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I’m lucky: I spring up as soon as my alarm sounds, put on my shoes and go for a run. As someone who specializes in vitality coaching (using effective diet, exercise and time management habits to maximize energy), I know it’s hard for plenty of people to drag out of bed. But by doing the same thing at the same time every day, you create healthy rituals. (By the way, healthy doesn’t have to mean a 4-mile run!)
Here are four easy, yoga-inspired moves you can perform each morning to maximize your blood flow and energy.
Morning Energy Maximizer No. 1: Stretch before your feet hit the floor.
To feel energized before you even put on your slippers, do these simple moves:
- Lying on your back in bed, pull one knee to your chest and hold for eight long breaths. Switch legs.
- Extend one leg straight in the air for a slight hamstring stretch, holding your calf for eight slow breaths. Repeat with the other leg.
- Draw your right knee across your body to the left side for an easy spinal twist. Reverse sides, holding again for eight breaths.
Morning Energy Maximizer No. 2: Make a breathing exercise part of your morning ritual.
Try building this structured breathing exercise somewhere into your morning routine – you can do it while your coffee is brewing, or while your car is warming up. Inhale deeply for a count of six. Exhale for a count of eight. Completing four cycles will boost oxygen flow throughout your body.
Morning Energy Maximizer No. 3: Salute the sun
This classic yoga move was designed with the morning in mind. Try out the following instructions a few times on your own -- or pop into any “vinyasa” yoga class for a run-through that’s more hands-on.
- Standing with your legs together, lift your arms overhead and inhale.
- Exhale and bend your torso toward the floor. Let your head and arms hang, like a ragdoll’s.
- Inhale and put your hands on the floor. Bend your knees and step back into the plank position. (i.e., push-up position on your hands and feet)
- As you exhale, bend your elbows and lower your whole body to the ground, keeping your hands under your shoulders.
- Taking a huge breath, push only your torso back up with your arms to open your chest as you arch your back.
- Exhale and lower your torso to the ground. Inhale and push up onto your hands and feet with your rear in the air. (You’ll look like an upside-down “V”)
- Inhale and step each foot toward your hands. Stand and sweep your arms back above your head.
- Repeat as many times as it takes to wake up!
Morning Energy Maximizer No. 4: Do like your dog.
If the previous exercise seems way too fussy, just imitate a furry friend with this single simple pose:
- Get into “tabletop” position with your hands and knees on the ground.
- Gradually straightening your legs, keep your hands and feet on the ground and point your tailbone to the sky. (Don’t worry if your heels don’t touch the ground)
- Hold for eight full breaths, and then lower your knees back into the tabletop position.
- Repeat three or more times, until you feel refreshed!
Gregory Florez, a former Nike-sponsored athlete, is CEO of First Fitness and FitAdvisor.com, which help employees of Fortune 500 companies boost their fitness and vitality. He is also a spokesperson for the American Council on Exercise.
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Health - Maximize Your Morning Energy