I awake with a start “did I oversleep”. I fumble around the nightstand and find my watch. I press the Indiglo button and its only 4:56am; the alarm is not set to go off for another 4 minutes.
I roll out of bed taking care not to wake anyone. I pull on sweat pants, t-shirt, pullover fleece, and wool socks. I lace up my cross trainers and say hi to my morning exercise partner, Libby. She waits patiently at the back door for me. I grab her leash, and away we go into the cold dark January morning. The moon and stars are still out and my neighborhood is so quiet I swear I can here the stars twinkling.
I turn right out of my driveway, thinking this morning I will head for some open space. It’s about a mile so Libby and I begin to walk quickly.
The cold is biting this morning and ice crystals begin to form in my beard and mustache. Libby knows where we are and runs ahead. She has much more energy than I do.
I reach the end of the road and cross over a stream and into a clearing. This part of the land used to be a sand pit, so it is open and flat. I perform some Jumping and Agility Jacks, and then some alternating toe touches. I drop down for a quick set of pushups and some light stretching. I then go through the Sanshin Kata, ten repetitions for each of the five pieces, and a brisk run down and around the clump of Fir Trees and back. The crusty snow and sand underneath my feet makes running real challenging. I finish up with some deep breathing and energy generating exercises and head for home.
Back home, I feed Libby and the cats and put the coffee on. I have a big glass of water with a pinch of Sea Salt dissolved into it. I break fast with humble Miso Soup, yogurt with granola, and some black coffee.
After breakfast it’s off for a quick cold shower and make ready for the day.
This has been my morning routine/ ritual for more or less the last five years. I feel that consistent routines lend themselves to successful outcomes. I cannot remember when I first herd this statement, but it’s a rule I try to live by.
“Consistency is the measure of success!”
In my opinion, the two most important factors in any physical health & conditioning program is first consistency and second early morning ~ every morning.
Without consistency you cannot achieve your health and skill related conditioning goals in an efficient and timely manner. As a corollary to this consistency, is exercising early morning ~ every morning. Some mornings may just be ten minutes of walking, stretching, or deep breathing. But a little consistent exercise every morning will pay dividends in your overall physical health and conditioning régime.
So why in the morning? Lets look at some facts.
Over 85% of people whom exercise consistently, exercise in the early morning. Consistency is the measure of success.
Just 30 minutes of consistent moderate early morning exercise “jump starts” your metabolism and can keep it elevated for 4-6 hours.
The general consensus of early morning exercisers is that you’ll feel energized throughout the day.
Research has suggested that consistent early morning exercise “regulates” the appetite. Subjects indicate they are not as hungry and overall make better food choices. Consistency builds results and results increase motivation to achieve health & skill related conditioning objectives and goals.
Research suggests that with consistent early morning exercise you should exercise the same time every morning and ideally wake-up at about the same time on a regular basis, your bodies endocrine system and natural circadian rhythms will begin to adjust. This takes about six to eight weeks. Oddly enough, a couple of hours before you awaken, your body will begin to prepare for wake up and exercise because it has been conditioned to intuitively “know” what is about to happen. It is much easier to awake, when the body is “prepared” to awaken.
How does this happen?
The short answer is your body’s metabolism and all the hormones involved in the activity of exercise begin to elevate while you still sleep. Thus, you feel more alert, aware, energized, and ready to exercise when you do wake up. These hormones prepare your body for exercise by regulating blood pressure and blood flow, heart rate, and respiration rate [O2 or Oxygen use].
For many people, that “time”, every early morning becomes something they look forward to, a time to think clearly & concisely, pray, meditate, plan the day ahead, or just relax mentally.
Research has proven that consistent early morning exercise increases ones overall mental acuity with a lasting effect of four to six hours.
Taking exercise early first thing in the morning is really the only way to insure that something else will not displace exercise out of your busy daily schedule.
If finding time is difficult, it is suggested that anyone can get up 30 to 60 minutes earlier to exercise if you in fact make physical health and conditioning a real priority in your life.
Research has also demonstrated that that people who exercise on a regular basis have a higher quality of sleep and therefore require less of it.
Most of this information is based on sound scientific research in the field of Exercise Physiology. The ancients have known it intuitively for centuries.
But don’t take my word for it, give it a real honest try and the rewards will be great. It may not add years to your life, but it will surely add life to your years.
Be well and Gassho!