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Keep'er Fit

Gary Wallace

Take on the Morning Movement challenge

I have written many times about the value I place on my morning routine for my physical and mental health and I want you to feel and understand the benefits as well. So I’m looking you to join my 30-day campaign ‘Morning Movement’.

Every morning as part of my routine I will stretch and some mornings I will add a gym session or morning run. The point is that I will do some form of purposeful movement. I don’t want to call it a workout or exercise because straight away that seems to put people off. All I’m asking is that you move as much and as long as you can for a least 30 days in-a-row.

If I asked you to do a 40 minute workout every morning for 30 days and you stick to it, there is no doubt you’ll see some progress. But could you really stick to that, especially if you currently do nothing first thing in the mornings. My guess is no.

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So what I’m asking is that you pick something that fits in with your own routine. It could be a three to five minute stretching session; Do ten squats and five press-ups every morning or run up and down the stairs five times. It doesn’t matter what it is, as long as it’s a full body movement and something you could do for 30-days, and build on for the rest of your life.

Again my morning movement is stretching. There are a number of reasons that I stretch first thing in the morning.

The first and most obvious is that I have been laying idle for seven to eight hours (okay, sometimes it’s six but I’m getting better at it) and my body needs to release any tension and stiffness from resting the night before.

The second reason is due to my injury history. Eight years ago I had back surgery and previous to that I also struggled with pain and flexibility issues. Thankfully through my operation, strength training and stretching daily, I’m able to control this pain and improve on my flexibility.

Finally, it just makes me feel awesome, really it does. There is something so simple but satisfying about stretching in the morning and what it does to improve your mental and physical state.

If you are someone who is reading this and thinks that there is no real point in doing so little in the morning or you don’t have the time, then please bear with me. The reasons above are mine but there is so much research out there that proves any form of morning movement or exercise is good for you.

Burn more calories
Here are some benefits: You burn more calories throughout the day. Studies have proven that when you exercise in the morning you continue to burn extra calories for up to four hours.

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This depends on the type, time and intensity of your movement but it’s not a bad way to start the day.

Consistency
Helps you stick to your routine consistently. How many of you wake up in the morning and decide that you’ll go to the gym later that day and when that time comes, you put it off for another while because something else crops up and before you know it, the opportunity to get your workout done has passed.

Adding Morning Movement into your routine, greatly reduces the chance of anything getting in the way, apart from the snooze button.

More energy
Morning exercise improves your physical and mental energy. Engaging in morning movement is your all-natural cup of coffee. Wake up your body and prepare your mind.

Movement can be a tremendous source of energy, something many of us need when we start our day. But beyond that, morning exercise has been shown to improve focus and mental abilities all day long.

Not only will you feel awake and have more energy after your workout, but your mind will be ready to take on whatever tasks you have lined up that day.

Strong self-discipline
Early morning workouts help you develop strong self-discipline. I don’t think anyone will argue with me when I say that waking up early in the morning to exercise enhances your personal discipline. Just like any habit, developing the discipline to get up and exercise in the morning only gets easier with time.

Perhaps more importantly, this discipline is likely to spill over into other areas of your life.

Better sleep
A morning exercise routine will help you get better sleep. A recent study had participants exercise at 7am, 1pm, or 7pm, three days per week. Guess who got the deepest, longest sleeps? Yeah – it was those who were doing the 7am workout sessions.

Waking up early in the morning to exercise or move in any way will in turn help you sleep better. Your body will enjoy a healthy sense of fatigue at the end of the day and will be ready to sleep.

So how do you get involved with the 30-day Morning Movement challenge?

Firstly, choose your morning movement. Stretch, dance, do yoga, run, lift some weights or lift yourself. It doesn’t matter what or how long you do it for, it just needs to involve some overall body movement.

Support
The next step is to post a video or picture on any social media platform of you doing your morning movement and tag CORE NI with the hashtag #morningmovement, get your friends and family members involved as well. If you don’t have any form of social media, then send me a text or email. This isn’t just to show how awesome you are but to help make you accountable to the challenge. I’m here to support.

I’m not setting a start date but I’m asking you to start tomorrow. Get up five minutes earlier in the morning or only hit the snooze button three times and get your #morningmovment started.

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