What exercise is the best for me? That is the question that I get asked the most. My answer is always personalized; it depends! It depends on your goals, your barriers, and your specific lifestyle quirks. There is no BEST exercise, but there are specific benefits of exercise depending on your time commitment and your goals.

  • Have 45 minutes 3 x a week and want to improve fitness?- Try a total body strength training program: Light weight and high reps for lean muscle maintenance, or high weight and low reps for muscle building
  • Have 30 minutes each day and want to lose weight?- Try a moderate-intensity cardiovascular exercise like a brisk walk, a moderate bike ride, a light jog or a swim!
  • Have 12 minutes each day and want to improve heart health?- Try a moderate-intensity cardiovascular activity from above or kick it up a notch with a High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) program; 3 rounds of (30 seconds of exercise/30 seconds of rest x Squats, Burpees, Plank, Push-ups)
  • Have 5 minutes a day and want to improve mental clarity?- Try my recipe for a 5-minute Morning Routine! That is right, you heard me, just 5 minutes of light exercise can decrease your cortisol levels, balance your stress hormones, and improve your mental health!

My 5-Minute Morning Routine for Mental Health

4 minute yoga warm-up + one minute Mindfulness Meditation

 

4 minute Yoga Warm-up

  • Why it works: Slowly improves blood flow to the body while decompressing the joints and correcting postures. Connects movement to breath to improve mindfulness and balance.

  • How to do it:
    • Start in table top on your hands and knees facing the front of your mat.
    • Suck your belly in, roll your neck out, side to side and right to left.
    • In table top, reach the right hand forward as you reach the left leg back, extending out to the corners of your mat.
    • Return to Table top and then repeat on the opposite side.
    • Next complete 4 very slow cycles of cat and cow.

    • On your last cow, flip your toes under and press up to down dog. Stay here for 6 breaths while you walk your legs out, bending one knee at a time and pushing though the other to flatten your heels closer to the ground.
    • Look at your hands, step your feet through to forward fold and then take rag doll with arms crossed at the elbows.
    • On the next inhale, roll the spine up one vertebra at a time while swooping the hands up over head to touch palms.
    • Exhale to ground.
    • Inhale and reach the arms up overhead
    • Exhale as you side bend to the left. Inhale back to center, exhale as you side bend to the right.
    • Next let your breath carry you through to Updog: Inhale reach back, exhale dive down to forward fold, Inhale half lift monkey pose, exhale bend the knees and plant the palms on either side of the feet, Inhale step back to plank, exhale slowly lower down to chataranga, inhale to up dog and pause for 4 breaths.
    • Here you can roll your neck out again or sway your hips side to side for more motion.
    • After breath four, inhale to roll your toes under, exhale back to downward facing dog and take another 4 breaths to try organic movements.
    • Staying in Down dog, inhale and ground down through your hands as you shift your bodyweight forward and come to tipi toes. From there, bend your knees and push your head further through your shoulders to bring your belly toward your knees.
    • Finish in Childs Pose.

 

1 minute meditation

  • Why it works: Just one minute of mindfulness in meditation can help you set an intention for your day that will carry your calm mood through the toughest of career stressors. Small actions of health, even ones that only take a minute, affirm our commitment to a lifestyle choice and often lead to additional healthy choices through the day.

  • How to do it: Stay in child’s pose or find another comfortable position (it can be savanna). Select and set an intention for your day. This can be any positive thought or motivational quote you love. Keep that intention in your mind and let everything else go. Just breathe and focus on that intention.

 

Whats next:

Have 15 minutes in your morning and want to kick it up a notch?- Do this Yoga routine twice and then spend 5-7 minutes in meditation after!