Morning Exercise is a Keystone Habit

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“Typically, people who exercise, start eating better and becoming more productive at work. They smoke less and show more patience with colleagues and family. They use their credit cards less frequently and say they feel less stressed. Exercise is a keystone habit that triggers widespread change.”
― Charles DuhiggThe Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business

The habit of getting up early each morning, exercising for at least 20-minutes and setting a positive tone for the rest of your day has numerous physical and psychological benefits.

Getting up is one of the hardest things we do each day. It gives you a mental edge over everyone else knowing you had the discipline to get up and get a workout in before you got to work or school. You’ll begin the day with a sense of accomplishment. It is like walking around with a secret.

Morning exercise stimulates your body and your mind. Science has proven that morning exercise is not just good for your body, it is good for your brain. Everyone knows that morning exercise elevates their metabolism for hours, but what most people don’t know, is that it also stimulates the formation of new neurons and the production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which is essential to the health of our brain.[i] The latest research studies demonstrate that these new neurons that are created through exercise are able to map themselves into our existing network of connections to boost mental performance, like adding RAM to a computer.[ii]

Following your workouts with reading or audiobooks is a great way to take advantage of this opportunity to map new information. Exercise is more about feeling good than looking good. People that exercise regularly are much less likely to suffer from depression or other psychological ailments. Daily exercise is often called a keystone habit because of its power to transform our lives.[iii] The benefits of regular exercise are less stress, increased patience, higher productivity, improved mood, focus, confidence and impulse control lead to the development of multiple good habits. I believe it is because when we feel better, we do better.

[i] Sama F Sleiman, Jeffrey Henry, Rami Al-Haddad, Lauretta El Hayek, Edwina Abou Haidar, Thomas Stringer, Devyani Ulja, Saravanan S Karuppagounder, Edward B Holson, Rajiv R Ratan, Ipe Ninan, and Moses V Chao, “Exercise promotes the expression of brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) through the action of the ketone body β-hydroxybutyrate,” published online 2016 Jun 2. doi:  10.7554/eLife.15092

[ii] Dr. Douglas Fields, “Brain Health: How Exercise Can Stimulate the Birth of New Neurons” , Huffington Post, THE BLOG 12/04/2010, Updated May 25, 2011

[iii] R.L. Adams, “5 Keystone Habits to Help Supercharge Your Success,” Huffington Post, THE BLOG 09/08/2015 Updated Sep 04, 2016


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