I have one really good, awesome, healthy habit, that I have created over the years. It has changed its shape and form a bit, but the basics is the same: I start every morning with some sort of outdoor activity. Pouring rain is pretty much the only exception to this rule.
The only thing I do after getting up and before going outside is drinking a huge glass of water and brushing my teeth. No coffee, no breakfast and even no reading my email before I've had my dose of fresh air.
Back in the days when I used to run a lot, I headed out at least for an hour. Now, my little early morning outdoor sessions are shorter. I may take a 15-minute walk in the neighborhood or run two miles. Sometimes I go out and train my client or teach a bootcamp, depending on a day. I walk or ride my bike there.
Why I love Early Morning Runs / Walks
Here are some of the reasons why, throughout all those years, I have been getting up and heading out before I start my day.
Moving my body in fresh air gets my body going. Because I spend so much time sitting, working on various things at my computer, it feels simply unnatural and uncomfortable to get up from the bed and immediately sit down. My body needs to move before becoming stationary again.
Being outside gets my mind ready for the day. Again, just jumping out from the bed and the next second, looking at my computer screen just doesn't work for me. I need a little time in between those things to get my mind started.
I get to see all the beauty of the outdoors in the early morning. Every time when I see a beautiful sunrise, I think how lucky I am to witness all that. I don't need three cups of coffee to wake me up, sunrise is enough. I wouldn't exchange those early morning views for anything.
I move more throughout the day. I workout 5-6 times a week, but my workouts are pretty short. So walking /running gives me a chance to add a little outdoor time into my day.
I get my steps in. I try to walk as much as I can every day. By walking in the morning I add more steps to my daily account. On my rest days, my goal is always to hit the 10 000 steps mark. I wish I could get in 10 000 days any day, but walking is actually pretty time consuming, so my daily average is usually around 7000-8000 steps.
Moving multiple days a days makes me more fit. First, I walk or run, then workout a little later (mid morning or so). Moving the body frequently means that it has to warm up several times (and that also means more calories burnt).
This is my time. I enjoy that I get to spend those first 15 minutes on my own. I know that that's what many parents enjoy, too, because as soon as the kids are up, it's all go-go-go! Setting your alarm for 15 minutes earlier to go outside and get some your time in is really valuable.
Start With a Small Change
Even though I live in California now and as I'm writing it, I'm in Hawaii, I have had this habit of getting some sort of physical activity in first thing in the morning for years, also when I lived in way colder climate.
Exactly one year ago, I lived in Finland, and this time of a year was super dark, rainy and cold. I went outside even then, because I knew that I would feel a million times better afterwards. There is no bad weather, there are wrong cold, as the saying goes.
All it takes is a little bit of effort in the beginning. It's not hard, I promise! Just set your goals smartly: your goals can be small, but do your best to stick with them.
For example, you don't need to push yourself to run if you don't like it or if you are not ready for it. Instead, go for a ten minute walk couple a days a week right after you wake up. Everybody has ten minutes, it's just a matter of proiritizing. Just give yourself a chance to experience how it feels and what it does to your body and mind. I know it does miracles to mine.