Morning Rituals

The most important factor in a successful exercise program is to exercise first thing in the morning... every morning! Some mornings, you may just be able to fit in a 10 minute walk, but it's important to try to do something every morning.

So why mornings?...
  • Over 90% of people who exercise consistently, exercise in the morning.

  • When you exercise early in the morning, it "jump-starts" your metabolism and keeps it elevated for hours.

  • When you exercise in the morning you'll be energized for the day.

  • Many people find that morning exercise "regulates" their appetite for the day. They are not as hungry and they make better food choices. Several people say it puts them in a "healthy mindset."

  • If you exercise at about the same time every morning and ideally wake-up at about the same time on a regular basis, your body's endocrine system and circadian rhythms adjust. A couple of hours before you awaken, your body begins to prepare for waking and exercise because it "knows" it is about to happen:

  • It is MUCH easier to wake-up. When you wake-up at different times everyday, it confuses your body and thus it's never really "prepared" to awaken.
  • Your metabolism and all the hormones involved in activity and exercise begin to elevate while you are sleeping. Thus, you feel more alert, energized, and ready to exercise when you do wake-up.
  • Hormones prepare your body for exercise by regulating blood pressure, heart rate, blood flow to muscles, etc.

  • For many people, that appointed time every morning becomes something they look forward to. Many find that it's a great time to think clearly, pray, plan their day, or just relax mentally.

  • Research has demonstrated that exercise increases mental acuity and it lasts four to ten hours after exercise.

  • Exercise first thing in the morning is really the only way to assure that something else will not crowd exercise out of your schedule.

  • If finding time to exercise is difficult, anyone can get up 30 to 60 minutes earlier to exercise (if it's a priority in your life). If necessary, you can go to sleep a little earlier. Also, research has demonstrated that people who exercise on a regular basis have a higher quality of sleep and thus require less sleep!

  • Evening Rituals

    Having a hard time mastering a pattern? Try sleeping on it and give it another try in the morning. A new study shows sleep helps us learn complex physical tasks.

    Researchers found people who learned a motor skill task in the evening and were tested 12 hours later after a night of sleep performed 20% better than those who learned the same task in the morning and were tested 12 hours later -- without sleeping in between sessions.

    "All such learning of new actions may require sleep before the maximum benefit of practice is expressed," writes Mathew P. Walker and colleagues at the laboratory of neurophysiology at Harvard Medical School. They say this may especially be important in early childhood development, when humans sleep most, and when recovering from injuries.

    Their findings appear in the July 3, 2002 issue of the journal Neuron.

    For the study, researchers trained different groups of people to perform a finger-tapping task where they had to repeat the same five-part sequence as quickly and as rapidly as possible for 30 seconds.

    Although each group improved with practice, and this improvement continued after they stopped practicing, the study found a night of sleep had a dramatic effect on how much the participants improved after practice stopped. A significant improvement was found only after a night's sleep, and not over a similar period time spent awake.

    By monitoring the participants' sleep patterns, researchers found a certain part of sleep, known as Stage 2 non-REM sleep, may be the critical factor in learning new motor skills. They found as much as 52% of the variance in how well the participants performed the task could be linked to how much of this type of sleep they got, particularly late at night.

    In a commentary that accompanies the study, Pierre Maquet of the Cyclotron Research Centre in Liege, Belgium, and colleagues say these findings "show that sleep has a favourable effect not only on perceptual but also on motor skill learning."

    Most students attend Taekwon-Do classes in the evening. This appears to be a beneficial time to learn new skills.

    So, practice new patterns or one-steps, just before going to bed and you will learn them quicker.

      JC's TaeKwon-Do
      142 S. Albion St., Unit 176
      Amherst, N.S., B4H 4H4
      902.667.KICK (5425)