20 Nov 6 Morning Workouts to Boost Your Productivity and Focus
We’ve all been experiencing highs and lows in our motivation this year, and you may find yourself in a bit of a rut at this moment. If that’s the case, at WWD we declare that it’s time to make adjustments, to shake off the dust, and pick it up where you left off. Today (or tomorrow morning) are excellent opportunities to reassess your current situation, get back on track with your fitness goals, and start exploring to get into your unique grove. Exercising in the morning can do more than kickstart your physical energy. It can also work wonders on your mental state, leaving you feeling more focused and productive. Research has even found a link between physical exercise and improved job performance. Exercise gets the blood flowing. It wakes you up, and through perspiration, your body gets rid of toxins in your body. Working out earlier in the day naturally gives you a fresher start to your day. Here are some options for you to pick the flavor, style, intensity, and rhythm that will make you fall in love with your body again.
If you’re someone who tends to wake up with a racing mind, incorporating yoga into your morning workouts can be beneficial to your mental health. Research has found that people performed better—both speed-wise and accuracy-wise—on brain functioning tests after practicing 20 minutes of Hatha yoga. Performing yoga in the morning can help alleviate not only the stressors in your body from your daily life, but also any mental blocks you might have. Focusing on your breathing and balance at the same time can present an interesting challenge, but the workout is still low-impact to care for your joints and spine. This alternative is ideal if you have injuries.
As far as focus-boosting morning workouts go, you don’t have to opt for anything fancy. Going on a simple run can help you be more productive later on. Top CEOs and those with high-stress positions are likely on the street or in your local parks running for miles before they begin their day. The point of a run is not to just accumulate steps or increase your distance. Running requires a person to regulate their oxygen uptake and output, control heart rate, and build mental clarity. Running (or jogging or even walking) can be an excellent way to organize your mind and body for the tasks ahead.
If running isn’t for you, you might choose a morning swim to get your body and brain work-day ready. Just like running, swimming can be productive for the same reasons. The difference is the lack of ground force that could impact the joints and low back. Swimming is a zero-impact activity and requires the entire body to work. It’s been proven that regular aerobic exercise boosts the size of the hippocampus, the brain area involved in verbal memory and learning. So if your gym or community has a public pool, switch out your normal cardio machine workout for a few laps.
Your morning workouts don’t have to be intense to get those brain-boosting benefits. Even just a brisk morning walk can get your heart pumping and your mind ready for the remainder of the day. Multiple studies show that walking can have an immediate impact on the brain, boosting cognitive function, and helping participants perform better on decision making and memory tests. Walking can also improve your ability to think creatively. This can be useful if you’re stuck in a work rut.
If you’re pressed for time and need to feel like you’ve accomplished something in the morning, HIIT is the way to go. Pairing up bodyweight motions with other modalities like medicine balls and battle ropes is a sure-fire way to increase your heart rate, push your muscle fibers to the max, burn fat, and get into the zone for the rest of the day. Focus on performing either small circuit stations for 20 to 30 seconds. Or one exercise for an all-out effort for 30 to 40 seconds.
Although it’s more of a mental workout than a physical workout, meditating in the morning can help set you up for a day of success. In fact, brain scans show that meditators are better equipped to quiet brain activity related to mind-wandering. This can be useful when you start to get distracted at your desk. Even just five minutes to start the day off will help put things into perspective. It will clear the mind, lower blood pressure, and alleviate stress and anxiety, clearing the path for one to better focus throughout the day.