When it comes to staying healthy and active, a long-term exercise plan is an invaluable asset. It will help you stay confident, and aid in maintaining mental focus and clarity. Working out before work each day—even before breakfast—has some surprising, well-documented benefits. You’ll be more energized throughout the day, which will help to defeat the performance-killing 3pm crash. You will also have an easier time concentrating, focusing on the task at hand, and approaching individual tasks with an optimal clarity of perception.
Best Exercises for a Workout Before Work
Start out with some healthy pre-workout stretching to prepare your musculoskeletal and cardiovascular systems. A car’s engine parts will wear out if you push your vehicle from zero to sixty in as few seconds as possible every time you get in; your body is the same way. A pre-workout stretch helps to gradually escalate your activity level, preparing your body for the physical challenges associated with working out.
One of the best exercises you can do before work is a brisk, steady walk. Jogging and power walking aren’t necessary, but neither is this a casual stroll around the block. Keeping up a brisk pace for ten to twenty minutes, each day before work will knock out one- to two-thirds of a two-and-a-half-hour weekly workout plan. Of course, there’s no harm in going beyond that timeframe; it’s just a good minimum for personal maintenance.
Another good pre-work workout involves compound exercises. These are exercises which involve the use of multiple muscle groups at once. Deadlifts and squats are both good examples of compound exercises, as is the bench press, and the leg press. Between them, the two presses cover most of your needs for upper and lower body.
If you don’t happen to have a weight room handy, and a trip to the gym won’t fit into your morning routine, there are bodyweight exercises you can do which perfectly fit the bill as compound movements. Bodyweight exercises don’t rely on anything other than what you normally carry around with you—whether you’re happy with it, or you’d like to be carrying a little bit less. Compound bodyweight exercise may require a little bit of creativity, but what it doesn’t require is a trip to the gym.
Helpful Habits to Accompany a Workout
Always get plenty of sleep the night before you’re going to work out. This is an advisable practice in any case; getting plenty of sleep is in itself essential to staying focused while at work. A good night’s sleep will help energize your body; you’ll be better prepared for the strain of the workout itself, and the healing and recovery process will begin much more quickly at the cellular level. For more information about some of the recently discovered correlating benefits between sleeping and working out, see what the National Sleep Foundation has to say on the subject.
Start monitoring your time; keep track of how much time you actually spend on a given pursuit. A few extra minutes spent working out each day can boost the two and one-half hours you’re looking to achieve each week up to three and a half hours, easily. If you wind up needing a little extra time each day, you’ll know where you can find it. Some people keep track of their time in a notebook, with starting and stopping times for each activity. Others use sticky notes, spreadsheets, or a dedicated app like TrackTime.
Looking for More?
There are oodles (and scads) of material available online on the subject of working out for both physical and mental energy, as well as what you need to do to maintain healthy workout habits. Check out these tips for a healthy, regular workout routine which can fit into virtually any part of your day, and this list of ideas for getting more out of your workout through encouraging healthy habits.