What's your first impulse when the alarm goes off on a frosty winter morning? To push the snooze button and duck back under the covers? If so-and if you're late to work every morning because of it-try some wake-up moves instead. Designed by personal trainer Kathy Kaehler, these exercises improve your circulation and boost your energy. "The moves warm your joints and get your blood flowing, so you'll feel alert and grounded all day long," says Kaehler, former fitness expert for Today and author of Fit and Sexy for Life (Random House, 2007). Do this 15-minute routine regularly and you'll also notice increased flexibility and strength-and fewer aches and pains.
You'll need a firm mattress. If your bed is particularly soft, lay a blanket on the floor for the first two moves.
Warms your back and abdominal muscles by gently extending and rounding your spine.
- Get on your hands and knees on top of your bed—your head should be in line with your neck, and your back should be in a neutral position (neither sagging nor arching). Make sure your wrists are directly under your shoulders, fingers pointing forward, and your knees are directly under your hips.
- Inhale and slightly arch your back, letting your belly relax toward the mattress while pulling your shoulders back and lifting your tailbone toward the ceiling. Gaze forward, like a playful puppy.
- Exhale and round your back toward the ceiling while tucking your chin and pointing the crown of your head toward the mattress, like a stretching cat.
Warms and stretches the muscles of your back, abdominals, shoulders, and neck.
- Lie on your left side in bed and bend your knees so your legs form 90-degree angles with your torso. Extend your arms in front of you until they're perpendicular to your torso.
- Take a deep breath, then exhale and contract your abdominal muscles. Inhale, then exhale and keep your arms straight and your legs bent as you roll onto your back and point your arms and knees toward the ceiling.
- Without pausing, continue to roll over to your right side and bring your arms and legs down to the mattress. Repeat the move on the opposite side.
Do 10 repetitions.
Strengthens your shoulders, triceps, and abdominal muscles.
- Sit on the edge of your bed with your back straight and both feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart. (If your bed is too high for your feet to reach the floor, do this move on a sturdy, heavy chair.) Rest your palms flat on the bed next to your thighs, fingertips facing forward.
- Supporting yourself on your hands, walk your feet forward one to two feet. Then slide your hips off the mattress and support your body with your arms with your elbows slightly bent.
- Bend your elbows and lower your body, knees slightly bent, until your arms form 90-degree angles. Keep your shoulders back and down, your chest lifted, and your hips near the bed. Hold for one second. Press into your palms and rise back to your starting position.
Do 10 repetitions, rest, then do 10 more repetitions.
Bedroom Wall Sit
Strengthens your thighs, butt, lower back, and abdominal muscles.
- Stand with your back against a wall and walk your legs out so they're about two feet from the wall, feet hip-width apart.
- Keeping your back against the wall, bend your knees and slide down until your thighs are nearly parallel to the floor. Make sure your knees don't extend past your toes. Hold for 10 seconds, then press your feet into the floor and slide back up to the starting position.