Regardless of whether or not you’ve had a solid eight hours of sleep, getting up and feeling energised first thing in the morning can be a daily challenge. I personally don’t even remember what having eight hours of sleep feels like but I agree that the promise of a hot, strong mug of coffee is enough to lure us all from the confines of our bed. I may frighten you here, but what would you do if coffee wasn’t available?
Caffeine is a somewhat addictive substance, and kicking your coffee habit can help to lower your blood pressure, improve your dental health, decrease feelings of intense stress or anxiety and break your dependence on coffee, plus think of how much money you’ll save if you aren’t stopping to purchase a coffee during your work day?!
Rather than starting your morning with a coffee, source your energy elsewhere. Physical activity has the ability to boost your serotonin and dopamine levels- the “happy” hormones that boost your mood, your energy and put you in the right frame of mind to start the day. Rather than the sudden “crash” you feel after the caffeine wears off, serotonin and dopamine will stick with you for the day.
While really any physical activity will work wonders for your serotonin levels, there are a few in particular that are guaranteed mood booster. Instead of your morning coffee, try one of these workouts to boost your energy levels.
Yoga is a wonderful, grounding way to start your morning and ease you into the day, and there are some specific yoga poses that really have the ability to wake you up and energise you.
Poses involving back bends are great for boosting your energy in the morning as they open up the heart and chest. A backbending movement will tap into the circulatory system, stimulating blood flow and exciting the nervous system for what feels like an instant energy boost. These circulation stimulating effects are also great for boosting your mood, ensuring you start the day feeling both energised and happy!
Here are a few simple poses you can work into your daily yoga practise to replace that morning espresso.
Begin in Easy Pose (seated, legs crossed, spine tall and shoulders relaxed) and simply extend your back and lift your chin to the ceiling, gently placing your hands on the mat behind you for balance. This is a simple backbend to ease you into your energising routine.
Cobra Pose is great for boosting energy and stretching out a stiff body after a restless slumber. Lie flat on your stomach, place your hands on the ground beside your chest, then gently and steadily push your upper body off the mat to stretch out your spine.
For the more experienced Yogi, Camel Pose will deliver an intense and almost immediate energy boost. Kneel with your knees hip width apart and legs directly behind you, then extend your spine backwards, touch your hands to your ankles and look up towards the ceiling.
A brisk walk outdoors is a great morning coffee replacement. The walk itself will boost your circulation, increase your heart rate and stimulate the release of endorphins (another one of those all-important happy hormones!), but physically getting outside in nature can have incredible energy and mood boosting benefits.
The vast majority of us are now working indoors, staring at screens and having only limited exposure to natural, non-fluorescent light. Research has shown that simply being outside for 5 to 20 minutes can boost your energy levels and improve your mood, as fresh air has a way of igniting the senses and making us feel more awake! Bonus points if your walk outdoors takes place during daylight hours. Sunlight triggers our brain’s release of serotonin, the mood-boosting chemical, giving you an instant mood lift.
While just getting outside or moving your body can positively affect your mood and energy, it’s worth combining the two for a mood lift that lasts all day!
The best workout is one you look forward to doing, and there’s no rule that says exercise can’t be fun- so why not start the morning with a dance!
Dancing, as with any vigorous physical activity, will boost your circulation, increase your heart rate and improve your mood and energy thanks to a release of endorphins- but unlike many other workouts, it doesn’t feel like a chore!
One of the real perks of a morning dance is the musical element. Music is linked to memory, so craft a playlist of songs that remind you of happy moments and you’ll feel ready to take on the day!