Mature man, newly built, with a cup of coffeeTrue Confession: I am not a morning person. The fact is that I prefer to creep into the day slowly.

One of the hardest adjustments I had to make to married life is that my husband Saul sets his clock radio to wake up, not to music, or even to an alarm, but to Morning Edition on National Public Radio.

Waking up to that program is like expecting my brain to go from zero to 150 miles per hour in two seconds. Fortunately he now turns off his bedside radio and listens to the program while elsewhere in the house. Oh, sweet relief!

Nonetheless, I have finally found a morning practice (as I like to call it) that enables me to creep into the day slowly, while setting me up to have the best possible day ahead.

Surprisingly enough (and frankly, shocking to me) is that part of my morning practice has become exercise (something I used to consider a fairly dirty word).

Doing warm-up exercises and isometrics both slowly and mindfully provides a gentle transition into the more active phase of the day.

Doing exercises as part of a morning practice has several benefits:

  1. It wakes up both your mind and body so that they can function better during the day.
  2. By the time you finish, endorphins kick in, helping to elevate your mood.
  3. Not only do endorphins kick in, but doing exercise as part of your morning practice can fill you with a self-righteous pride in yourself, and help you to feel better about yourself all day long.
  4. Getting one’s exercise done first thing also prevents you from polluting your day with on-going inner conversations with yourself about when you are finally going to be able to sneak in time to exercise, and also avoids your feeling guilty at the end of the day when that time fails to arrive.

Of course, there are people for whom exercise later in the day, often as an important stress reliever, is the better choice. And all bets are off for parents of young children, whose schedule can be erratic, and start extremely early, as well.

And by the way, there is one crucial requirement for having an effective morning practice, and that is to get into bed at a decent hour the night before. But that is a whole other story for a whole other blog post.

Please share some of your favorite morning practices with us on our Facebook page.