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Starting your day with exercise can set a positive tone for the rest of your day. Morning workouts not only wake you up but also give you a sense of accomplishment that can carry you through whatever challenges come your way.


Why Should You Exercise in the Morning?

  • Boosts Energy Levels: Physical activity gets your blood pumping, increases oxygen flow, and wakes up your muscles. This translates to feeling more energized and focused throughout the day. Your work day doesn't stand a chance against you.
  • Improves Mood: Exercise releases endorphins, the body's natural feel-good chemicals. Starting your day with a workout can combat stress and leave you feeling more positive and motivated.
  • Sharpens Focus: Studies show that morning exercise can enhance cognitive function, memory, and concentration. Tackle your work day with a little less brain fog and a little more, "Nothing can stop me. I'm on a roll."
  • Aids Weight Management: Working out first thing in the morning can boost your metabolism, helping you burn more calories throughout the day.
  • Promotes Better Sleep: Regular exercise can improve the quality of your sleep at night. Even a short morning workout can lead to deeper, more restorative sleep. You might sleep so much like a baby that you'll somehow wake up with a pacifier in your mouth.


Convinced about the benefits of a morning sweat session? Here are 5 workouts you can easily do at home or at the Kandiyohi County Area Family YMCA


1. Yoga for Flexibility and Calm

Yoga is a perfect morning workout that combines flexibility, strength, and mindfulness. Starting your day with a yoga session can help you feel centered and relaxed. It’s a low-impact exercise that can improve your balance, flexibility, and mental clarity.

At Home:

A mat and a quiet corner are all you need. There are plenty of online resources and apps with guided yoga routines specifically designed for the morning. Focus on poses like the Sun Salutation, which gently wakes up your body and mind.

At the Y:

While the YMCA doesn't currently offer any morning yoga classes, you can still enjoy the group setting of a yoga class through YMCA360. Dkilled instructors guide you through a series of poses and breathing exercises that leave you feeling refreshed and ready for the day. Plus, practicing in a group setting can boost your motivation and keep you consistent with your routine.


2. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) for a Quick, Effective Workout

If you’re short on time but want a workout that really packs a punch, HIIT is the way to go. High-Intensity Interval Training involves short bursts of intense exercise followed by brief recovery periods. This type of workout can improve cardiovascular health, increase metabolism, and burn a lot of calories in a short amount of time.

At Home:

A typical HIIT session can be done in about 20-30 minutes and doesn’t require any special equipment. Exercises like jumping jacks, burpees, high knees, and mountain climbers can be done anywhere. Create a routine with 30 seconds of intense exercise followed by 15 seconds of rest, repeating for about 20 minutes.

At the Y:

Hop on the treadmill and give Sprint 8 a try! Sprint 8 is an efficient, fat-burning sprint-intensity interval program that gives you a complete cardio workout, including warm-up and cool-down, in just 20 minutes.



3. Running or Walking for Cardio Health

Running or walking is a fantastic way to start the day. It’s simple, doesn’t require much equipment, and can be done anywhere. Cardiovascular exercise is crucial for heart health, and running or walking in the morning can give you a mood boost thanks to the release of endorphins.

At Home:

All you need is a good pair of running shoes. Whether you prefer a brisk walk or a jog around your neighborhood, getting outside in the morning can help you wake up and enjoy some fresh air. Start with a 20-30 minute session and gradually increase your time or distance as you get more comfortable.

At the Y:

Take advantage of the treadmills and indoor walking track at the Kandiyohi county Area Family YMCA. If you're not a runner, you can still get your cardio in and meet new people at a morning cardio class!


4. Strength Training for Building Muscle

Strength training is essential for building and maintaining muscle mass, which is especially important as we age. Morning strength workouts can energize you and improve your metabolism for the rest of the day.

At Home:

You don’t need a full gym to do strength training at home. Bodyweight exercises like push-ups, squats, lunges, and planks are highly effective. If you have some dumbbells or resistance bands, you can add more variety to your routine. Aim for a balanced workout that targets all major muscle groups.

At the Y:

The Kandiyohi County Area Family YMCA has a fully equipped weight room and offers early morning strength classes including Boot Camp. Our personal trainers are available to help you create a routine that meets your fitness goals. Strength training in a group can be more motivating and fun, providing the perfect start to your day. 


5. Swimming for a Full-Body Workout

Swimming is a low-impact, full-body workout that’s easy on the joints but still incredibly effective. It improves cardiovascular health, builds muscle strength, and increases endurance. Plus, the water can be quite refreshing first thing in the morning.

At Home:

If you have access to a pool, a morning swim can be a great way to start the day. Even if you’re not a strong swimmer, water aerobics or simply walking in the pool can provide significant health benefits. Aim for 20-30 minutes of activity in the water.

At the Y:

The  YMCA has a fantastic pool where you can swim laps or join an early morning Water Fitness class. Swimming with a group can keep you motivated and make the workout more enjoyable. Plus, our lifeguards are always on duty to ensure a safe swimming environment.


Waking up early for a workout might seem daunting, but trust us, it can be the most energizing way to start your day.