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Rise and Shine with This Feel-Good Morning Workout

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Looking for a morning workout customized for your life? We partnered with Honey Nut Cheerios to create the perfect routine to energize your mornings.

woman exercising

No matter if you’re a morning person or a night owl, there’s no better way to shake off sleep than a heart-pumping workout in the morning. Even as little as 10 minutes of light exercise each day can make a difference to your overall heart health, and a bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios for breakfast can give you the energy you need to conquer your workout.

With the help of ACE-certified personal trainer and health coach Andrea DeBaldo, we developed a morning workout routine that can be customized to fit your life. Hold each position for 2-5 seconds, do each exercise for 30 seconds, and repeat the whole set of exercises four times for a total of 20 minutes. If 10 minutes is all you can manage, just do four rounds of the first five exercises; if you’re an overachiever, you can do the whole set over again for a serious 40-minute workout.

All videos by: Andrea DeBaldo

Exercise 1: Arm swing squats

Begin by standing on your toes with your arms extended up toward the ceiling; you should feel this stretch in your shoulders and abdominal muscles. From here, squat down and swing your arms out to stretch behind you, making sure to keep your back straight and buttocks elevated; if done correctly, you’ll feel the stretch in your glutes, thighs, chest, and triceps.

Exercise 2: Arm-reach skater squats

From a standing position, lean into a lunge/squat with your right leg while raising your left leg behind you with the knee bent, and extend your left arm forward, then return to standing. Repeat on the opposite side, leaning into a lunge/squat with your left leg while raising your right leg behind you, and extending your right arm forward. If you have trouble balancing on one leg, you can keep a chair or wall near you for added stability. These stretches will activate your thighs and shoulders, so try to do the same number on your left and right side to keep your body balanced.

Exercise 3: Side-squat chest stretches

Stand up straight with both arms extended out in front of you—you should feel a stretch in your upper back. Step into a squat on your right side, extending both arms out sideways and as far back as you can; this will add a stretch in your chest, on top of the stretch you’ll feel in your legs, glutes, and inner thighs from the squat.

Exercise 4: Deadlift toe holds

Begin in a standing position with your arms extended toward the ceiling; you should feel a stretch in your shoulders and abs. Bend forward at the waist and extend your arms out to the side as you do so, taking a small bend in the knees as necessary. Reaching down as far as you can, grab your shins, ankles, or toes (whichever is most comfortable) and hold this position, feeling a stretch along the backs of your legs. When you rise to stand, make sure to flex your core muscles to provide added stability and protection for your lower back.

Exercise 5: Side lunges

Begin in a standing position with your arms tucked by the sides of your chest, elbows bent and tucked in. Step and lunge to your right, extending your arms out straight in front of you as you do so. Return to a standing position and bring your arms back to your sides, elbows bent and tucked in. Repeat the motion on your left side, stepping and lunging to the side while stretching your arms out in front of you, and return to the standing position.

Exercise 6: Backward lunge with side twist

Begin in a standing position with your arms raised above your head. Step your left leg back into a lunge as you rotate your upper body to the right, sweeping your arms down across your body to the lower right. You should feel a stretch in your right thigh and hip, as well as a sensation in your left side body. Exit the lunge, returning to your standing position with arms overhead. Repeat with the opposite side: your right leg steps back into a lunge, your upper body rotates to the left, and your arms sweep down across your body to the lower left.

Exercise 7: Wide plié squats with side bends

Starting in a wide squat with your arms outstretched to either side, straighten your legs and lean your body to the left, reaching your right arm up and over as if you’re trying to touch the wall to your left; use your left arm to support yourself against your thigh as needed. You should feel this stretch all along your right side, from underneath your shoulder down to your hip. Return to the wide squat and repeat the motion with your right side, raising your left arm over your head to reach for the wall to your right.

Exercise 8: Kicks with toe reaches

Raise your arms over your head, palms facing in and fingers pointed toward the ceiling. Kick your left leg straight up and reach out with your right hand to meet it, swinging your left arm out to maintain your balance against a wall or chair if necessary. Return to the standing position with your arms overhead and repeat with the opposite side by kicking your right leg straight up and reaching out with your left hand, swinging your right arm out for balance. You should feel a stretch in the backs of your legs, as well as a stretch in your shoulders and abs from the standing position.

Exercise 9: Single leg back kicks with shoulder raises

Squeeze your right glute and raise your arms out to the side, with your elbows slightly bent, and kick your right foot backward. You should feel a stretch where your front right hip meets the leg, and you may feel some sensation in your lower back as well; if you feel a slight burning in your glute and shoulders, you’re doing it right. Repeat with the left side: squeeze the left glute, raise your arms and bend at the elbows.

Exercise 10: Curtsy lunge with side kick/punch

Stand with your arms bent up by your face, similar to a boxer’s stance, and then take a curtsy lunge with your right leg, sweeping it behind your left. You should feel a stretch in your left glute and hip in this pose. Rise to stand, and kick your right leg out to the side, punching your right arm to the side at the same time; you should feel this stretch in your right leg and arm, as well as your inner thighs. Continue on your right side for 15 seconds, then switch sides and repeat with your left leg and left arm, also for 15 seconds.

Remember to fuel your sunrise workout with a heart-healthy bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios!

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