Dancing is a Fun and Exciting Way to Lose Weight

Lose weight dancing!

Lose weight dancing! Doesn’t it sound fun? Dancing is beneficial for many more reasons than one. It’s not only a fast way to lose weight, but it’s fun and allows you to learn a new skill that will simply catapult your social quotient. Dancing as a form of exercise is also much less monotonous than boring gym routines.

Dance is not just a seductive movement of the body aimed to charm a room full of people, or merely an art form designed to express oneself. Dance is so much more; it’s a way of life, and a way of attaining perfection in the body and the soul.

 

Benefits of Dancing for Weight Loss

There are many ways in which dancing promotes weight loss. Here are a few of them:

  • A lot of people stop exercising because it becomes monotonous and boring. With dancing, that does not really happen and many people are able to stay on track and achieve their weight loss goals.
  • While we lose weight dancing, we also acquire a new skill that helps us to gain greater self-confidence and self-worth.
  • Some people may find traditional workouts like sit-ups, push-ups and pull-ups strenuous and hard on the muscles. Dancing, on the other hand, is relaxing and helps burn a lot of calories.
  • Apart from losing weight, dancing also helps develop concentration, patience and relieves stress.

Types of Dance Workouts

These popular dance workouts can be done at home with videos or taken with a group of friends at a fitness class.

  • Fusion dance is for those who are not biased to any particular form of dance. This dance form takes the good parts of many other dance forms, along with their own innovative steps and makes your workout time worthwhile. Highly recommended for people who get bored quickly.
  • Piloxing is a blend of Pilates, boxing and dance. Ideal for those looking to burn calories fast, as well as build and tone muscles. Recommended for the sporty individual.
  • Ballet is an art and fitness routine fused together. Apart from sculpting a svelte figure, it increases flexibility like no other forms of exercise. It also helps in personality development by promoting gracefulness.
  • Zumba is a high energetic Latin inspired dance routine that includes cardio workouts in its routine.

The benefits of dancing for weight loss are endless. Most gyms nowadays offer variety of packages to help you lose weight dancing. Research the form of dance that you like and select a package accordingly, or you can simply tune into the home dance videos and dance your calories away.

 

Mother’s Day Sweets

800px-Chocolate_Cake_Flourless_(1) Living a  healthy lifestyle and eating healthy food doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the occasional sweet indulgence. It’s Mother’s Day! That box of chocolates is calling your name! Can you eat sweets and still manage your diet? Yes, you can. As long as you eat sweets in moderation and occasionally, you can enjoy decadent chocolates, cakes, and cookies.

Dark chocolate is not only a decadent treat; it’s a healthy one too. Dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants called flavonoids. Flavonoids can help improve your heart health and decrease your blood pressure. Walnuts increase the heart health power of this sweet by adding beneficial omega-3 fatty acids. Yes, you can have 2 or 3 of those delicious dark chocolate-covered walnut treats.

Love milkshakes and ice cream? You know milkshakes are loaded with calories and fat. You can enjoy all the delicious flavors of a milkshake but with far fewer calories by substituting regular milk with 1 percent milk. Add some plain low-fat yogurt and your favorite fresh fruit, such as blueberries or strawberries, for a fruity flavor explosion. You will also benefit from the antioxidants found in fresh fruits and get a good dose of your daily vitamin and fiber requirements.

If you are going out to dinner to celebrate Mother’s Day, many restaurants offer low-fat treats. If you must have that slice of chocolate cake, forego the ice cream and whipped topping. Take small bites and savor each one. You don’t have to finish that dessert either. Share it with that special someone who is treating you to dinner.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Want To Lose Weight Faster? Try These Workouts

Photo credit: Petr Kratochvil [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

Exercise is one of the most important factors for a healthy lifestyle. If you want to lose weight fast, then it’s essential that you choose the right workouts for the best results. Workouts are also needed to both tone muscle and keep the mind and body healthy.

The idea of ‘working out’ doesn’t have to incorporate a session at the gym. The term ‘workout’ means “a practice or exercise to improve one’s fitness,” or “a session of vigorous physical training.” So any kind of intensive activity can be classed as a workout.

 

Here are some excellent workouts to try if you want to lose weight faster.

  • Walking. This might sound like it is too simple for to be called a ‘workout’, but if you currently have a sedentary lifestyle, then walking can be ideal. Walking has been described as a low-intensity activity to lose weight. It should be possible to burn up to 360 calories in 45 minutes. This means that walking 45 minutes per day a person can lose around a pound a week.
  • Swimming. Swimming is a great way to lose extra pounds. Depending on the type of swimming, a person can burn between 450 and 700 calories an hour. This is a low impact workout as the body isn’t subject to the bumps and strains of lifting weights or running. It’s a good form of exercise for people with other health issues like obesity, arthritis, and asthma.
  • Kettlebells. What are they? Cast iron balls that have a single handle. The interesting aspect of using kettlebells in a workout is that, because the weight isn’t distributed evenly, the body has to work to counterbalance kettlebell’s weight. Kettlebell workouts can burn around 400 calories in about 20 minutes. In terms of cardiovascular benefits, a workout with a kettlebell can be the equivalent to running six miles.
  • Jumping/skipping rope. This shouldn’t be resigned to the school playground. A jumping rope workout can help you burn up to 800 calories in an hour. Just 10 minutes of this type of workout is the same as running a mile. There are more than just cardiovascular benefits to using a jumping rope. It’s also a great way to improve endurance, coordination, and agility. It’s more intensive that other workouts, but this means that you don’t have to do it as long.
  • Squats. Squats burn fat fast and build muscle. Squat exercises use most of the muscles in the body. Why is this important? The more muscle mass a person has, the better his metabolism, and therefore calories will be burned faster. Squat workouts can be used with or without weights, therefore perfect for either home exercising or at the gym.
  • Lunges. These can be performed at home and no equipment is needed. They are great exercises to tone your lower body, but more importantly they great for burning calories. It’s estimated that a person can burn around 275 calories in a 30-minute workout. There are various types of lunges, even ‘explosive lunges.’
  • Bicycling is another low-impact, high-rewards activity for losing weight. Depending on how fast a person cycles and the type of terrain, it is possible to burn up to 1,000 calories in an hour. Cycling can be incorporated into a healthy lifestyle. For example, you could cycle to work or use the bicycle for leisure time. If that’s not possible, then most gyms have cycles.
  • Running. This is the ‘classic’ workout for losing weight. Running is great for strengthening muscle, improving the cardiovascular system and is generally good for the whole body and mind. It only requires a good pair of running shoes and a music player to help you keep pace. Even better is to use high-intensity interval running. This involves short bursts of running at top speed, then a slowing the pace before the next burst.

5 Powerful Spices and Herbs to Increase Metabolism

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When you’re trying to get healthy, it’s easy to get caught up in the latest of fad diets, exercise tools, and the like that can cost you a lot of time, money, and leave you feeling frustrated. Thankfully, with the modern spread of information, it’s a lot easier to research and find which things work for people so that you can reach your health goals. The primary focus of this article is to reveal a few powerful spices and herbs to increase metabolism and improve health.

Ginseng

This famous herb has been associated with energy and metabolism for 2000 years. Its presence in tea has made ginseng tea a favorite among people looking to promote a more energetic lifestyle, and studies have shown that ginseng can greatly help with weight loss if consumed every day for a sustained period. Ginseng was also found to have a favorable effect on insulin sensitivity, making it a good choice for people who deal with diabetes.

Turmeric

Turmeric is a staple ingredient in Indian cuisine, which is notoriously spicy-and health-enhancing. This powerful spice contains anti-inflammatory properties, which may reduce arthritis symptoms and improve other chronic inflammatory conditions like heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Turmeric’s active ingredient, curcumin, also helps to burn fat, promote proper metabolism, aids digestion, and corrects bile deficiencies and excesses.

Cayenne Pepper

In the last few hundred years, there have been a number of tonics that have employed the use of capsaicin, the active or hot ingredient in cayenne pepper to help treat various ailments. Today, science has uncovered more of the specifics in the way that we can use this powerful agent to reduce caloric intake, shrink fat tissues, and clean the vascular system. Research has discovered that it can stimulate thermogenesis, which is the process of metabolizing fats to generate heat. In fact, the Global Healing Center mentioned that eating hot peppers, such as Cayenne, can increase your metabolism by as much as 25%.

Cinnamon

People have had a strong love of cinnamon for quite some time due to its festive flavoring and associations with holiday time, but this powerful spice has many other advantages. Research has shown that cinnamon can lower blood sugar levels substantially, in addition to increasing glucose metabolism by more than 18 times the regular amount. This means that it helps to make your metabolism more efficient, which is also ideal for people who have diabetes or might be close to becoming diabetic.

Mustard

People tend to think of mustard as simply a condiment, but it’s been shown that less than a teaspoon of mustard seeds can increase your metabolic rate 20 -25% for several hours after eating, which could result in roughly 50 calories being burned per hour.

If you use these herbs and spices for weight loss on a regular basis, you will gradually see and feel the difference in your overall health and well-being.

 

5 Simple Ways to Smarter, Healthier Eating

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The last few centuries have seen a lot of technological advances for us as a species. One of those significant advances was to change the way we farm and produce food. It used to be a deeply personal experience. We grew our own food, preserved it, hunted, and bartered with our community for the items we could not provide for ourselves. These days the majority get their food from huge factory farms. These farms are so massive in scale and the contamination factor so great that they often sterilize our food to make it safe for consumption. We have effectively removed ourselves from the process and become reliant on corporations to make our food choices for us. The rise of obesity, diabetes, and numerous other health problems indicates that we need to regain control of our food choices. Here are some simple ways to immediately improve what you eat:

1. Eat grass-fed and pastured meat and eggs. Factory farms mistreat their animals and feed them substandard food. When you consume an unhealthy animal, you’re not providing adequate nutrition to your own body. Animals allowed to graze and eat a diet natural to them are leaner than their “fattened” counterparts, they have more omega-3 fatty acids, and they’re more nutrient-dense.

2. Ferment your food. The fermentation process inactivates most of the anti-nutrients in certain foods so that they are easier to digest, and our body can make better use of their nutrients. Fermentation also creates healthy live bacteria and yeast. Our digestive system needs these beneficial bacteria to form a balance and to do its job effectively. You can ferment many foods in your own home for little money. Try starting with a simple vegetable ferment by soaking vegetables in a salt brine. You can ferment almost any vegetable like peppers, cauliflower, beets, cucumbers, carrots, or asparagus – the list goes on.  

If you choose not to ferment your food at home, visit your local grocery store and purchase fermented veggies, snacks, or drinks. Be sure to check the ingredients list for “Live and Active Cultures” or “Live Active Cultures.” The healthiest products will be those that list the different strains of live probiotics by name, such as Lactobacillus or Bifidobacterium, and should mention how many millions of cultures are within.

3. Consume raw, pastured dairy. If you can get raw dairy in your location, it’s well worth the investment in your health. Raw dairy has healthy bacteria and numerous vitamins and nutrients that are destroyed during the pasteurization process associated with conventional milk. Many people with milk allergies find that they can’t drink regular milk, but they can consume raw. Use raw milk to make healthier versions of yogurt, butter, and kefir.

4. Shop the farmer’s market for local foods. Supermarket foods often travel weeks to get to you, and they’re less than fresh by the time they reach your plate. The nutrient loss associated with these foods is significant. Farmer’s markets usually have fruits and veggies picked that same day, and you would do better to shop there. For more fresh local produce, look into CSAs or visit your local farms yourself.

5. Grow your own or pick your own. Many people are reluctant or unsure of how to grow their own food, but they don’t have to be. Start by selecting one or two items you eat a lot of and planting those in pots or raised beds. Use seed or even buy starter plants from a local nursery. Growing your own tomatoes or strawberries, for instance, is a great start to being more self-sufficient. If you don’t have the resources or the time to grow your own food, you can still harvest fresh produce at local pick-your-own farms. These farms allow you to walk the rows of their crops and pick your own food. Raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, pumpkins, apples, sweet corn, squash, and beans are examples of popular pick your crops.

4 Nutrient-Rich Superfoods to Boost a Healthy Diet

Photo Credit: Diego CC-BY-2.0 2008

Looking good, feeling good and being healthy starts with good nutrition and exercise. Some foods contain more essential vitamins and nutrients per serving than other foods. It is important that you know the nutritional value of the foods you eat, especially if you are trying to lose weight. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends that people need to eat more fruits vegetables, dairy and whole grain foods. A tasty way to add more of these foods to your diet is to eat more yogurt or low-fat milk, dry beans, eggs, and nuts.

Beans

Dry beans are rich in protein, magnesium, potassium and carbohydrates.  They are an excellent low-fat source of nutrition. In addition to vital minerals and protein, dry beans provide an abundant source of fiber that can help lower cholesterol and keep your digestive tract functioning well. Beans are a good substitute for meat or as a side dish when chicken or turkey is the main course. You can add beans to soups and gumbo dishes for extra nutrition and flavor. Thoroughly wash dried beans and soak them in cold water for about an hour. Cook dry beans slowly over medium heat until the bean is tender.

Yogurt

Low-fat and fat-free yogurt contains more calcium than a glass of milk. Yogurt also contains protein, Vitamin  D and potassium. Some brands of yogurt include probiotics that help to maintain the balance of good bacteria in your digestive tract. Add some raspberries, blueberries, strawberries or oatmeal to sweeten your plain yogurt. Berries and granola added to your yogurt makes it tastier and you get the nutritional benefits of the fruit and grains. Add yogurt to dessert recipes to replace a portion of cream cheese.

Eggs

Eggs are among the most versatile and nutrition-packed foods you can eat. Eggs are loaded with protein, almost all the vitamins and minerals your body needs and they contain choline for healthy brain development. Most people think of eggs for breakfast, but they may be eaten at other times, too. Hard boiled eggs are a great snack, or an egg salad sandwich made with low-fat mayonnaise on whole wheat bread is a nutritious lunch.

Nuts

Nuts in small portions or added to salads are a great way to get more protein, fiber, healthy fats, and antioxidants in your diet. Try some  almonds, peanuts, walnuts, or pecans alone, in salads or in low-fat yogurt for a delicious way to enjoy a daily dose of extra nutrition. Add nuts  to your breakfast cereal, oatmeal or baked in cakes and breads.

Can Stress Sabotage Your Weight Loss Efforts?

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We face more stress today than we ever have before, but can stress sabotage your weight loss efforts? Well, it depends. If you find you’re constantly under stress and struggling with weight issues, then it’s probably a good idea to take a look at the level of stress in your life. You can experience stress in relationships, at work, financial hardships, moving, sitting in a traffic jam, losing a loved one, and so much more. If stress becomes chronic, it can lead to a cascade of chemical responses in the body and bring weight loss to a screeching halt. Learning to recognize stress triggers and how stress affects the body can help you to reach your weight loss goals and keep the extra pounds off.

How is stress sabotaging your weight loss effort?

The Body’s Response to Stress

When stress is triggered, the body releases hormones that have different effects. The primary stress response hormones are epinephrine and cortisol. The stress response is commonly referred to as the fight for flight response.

Flight or fight response

During this phase of the stress response, people experience increased heart rate, increased respiration, and a slowing of the digestive tract company with a release of glucose and fats into the bloodstream. The body also releases cortisol during the stress.

What Does Cortisol Do?

When cortisol dumps fat and glucose in the bloodstream, it’s designed to help you have access to quick energy when outrunning a lion.

Unfortunately, there aren’t many lions in our current environment, only traffic jams and demanding bosses.

So now, instead of using up all of the energy that cortisol pumped into your bloodstream, you have extra nutrients, glucose and fat just sitting around.

Not only does cortisol have the ability to release nutrients into the bloodstream, it also stops the digestive process. What does that mean for weight loss?

Insulin & Cortisol 

  • Cortisol has a direct negative impact on insulin. Cortisol suppresses insulin, the hormone that lowers blood sugar. If your cortisol levels remain high due to chronic stress, it will lead to poor blood sugar regulation and many other health problems such as obesity, moods swings, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.
  • Cortisol also inhibits the muscle’s ability to take in amino acids, which can lead to fatigue because the muscles are not being properly fed.
  • Finally, cortisol partially shuts down the body’s immune system because when you’re running away from the bear, you don’t need to be fighting off the common cold. This means that chronically stressed people are more prone to illness.

So, what does this have to do with weight loss?

When the body responds to stress, all of the normal hormonal processes change. Instead of handling food, feeding muscles, fighting illness, and using fat, your body is doing the exact opposite…

Getting sick, losing muscle, storing food, and storing fat.

Increased hunger

The increased appetite that’s often associated with stress becomes more problematic when stress shuts down and alters the body’s ability to process food.

Fat becomes more easily stored and less used for energy. These changes happen in the body because of the excess glucose. When you are consuming more calories, and burning less of them, you’re going to store more fat.

Easy energy

Excess blood sugar happens during the stress response, and the body will always use glucose first. The process to convert glucose to energy is simple. Our bodies are nothing if not efficient. Stress provides a constant source of glucose. The rapid source of energy stops your body from using fat stores.

Your metabolism is lazy. It will always pick the power supply (glucose, amino acids, and triglycerides) that is easiest to process (glucose).

Positive ways to manage stress

Fortunately, the case for stress sabotaging weight loss is not hopeless. There are plenty of things that you can do to reduce your body’s response to stress.

Exercise

Exercise helps lower the body’s response to stress, and it is a wonderful way to get the right hormones in surplus within the body. Without exercise, many people would live in a chronic stressed out state.

Meditation/Prayer

Individuals who pray regularly and/or meditate regularly are usually better able to handle what life hands them.

Meditation and prayer have a calming effect that is seen well after the actual prayer and meditation stop.

Deep Breathing

When traffic hits or your boss goes berserk, stop and take a few long, deep breaths. This interrupts the stress response by slowing your respirations. Not allowing your heart rate to accelerate.

People who exercise, meditate, pray, and practice deep breathing all have statistically lower body weights.

Can this be because of their ability to handle stress better?

How do you combat daily stress?

Top Heart-Healthy Foods: Best Foods for Cardiovascular Health

With all the hype about “heart healthy” foods, it can be tough to know whether your diet is good for your heart. Obvious foods to avoid or to consume in moderation include alcohol, caffeine, sodium and sugar. According to the American Heart Association, less than 1% of adults, and virtually no children, meet the ideal diet guidelines. About 68% of adults in the USA are either overweight or obese. Some simple changes to your diet can help maintain or improve your heart health.

Reduce the saturated fat in your diet by switching from butter and other saturated fats to extra virgin olive oil for cooking. Extra virgin olive oil has a light flavor that won’t overwhelm your recipes and it’s rich in antioxidants. Replacing butter and other fats in your diet can help reduce your cholesterol. Use extra virgin olive oil to stir-fry vegetables or add herbs and pour over salads or brush on whole grain breads.

Sweet potatoes are a good choice to replace white potatoes. White potatoes can cause a quick spike in blood sugar, but sweet potatoes have a low glycemic index. They are rich in fiber, vitamin A and lycopene which helps maintain heart health. Sweet potatoes are naturally sweet so you don’t have to add sugar. You can enhance their flavor by adding cinnamon, which is also good for your heart.

Barley is a flavorful whole grain that you can use in place of white rice. Add barley to soup, stews or simmer with herbs and serve as a side dish. Barley can help lower your cholesterol, too.  Oats in any form can help improve your heart health by reducing your cholesterol. Oats are digested slowly which keeps you feeling full for hours and stabilizes your blood sugar. Replace 30% of white flour in recipes with oats or oat flour when you bake muffins, cookies, or make pancakes.

Fruits and berries are a delicious way to reduce processed sugar in your diet while increasing fiber and antioxidants. Blueberries contain lutein, vitamin C, magnesium, potassium and loads of fiber. Cherries, raspberries and blackberries also contain these heart healthy nutrients. Add fresh fruit to low-fat yogurt, pancakes, muffins and salads.

Red meat is rich in protein but contains fats that, over time, can increase your cholesterol. Replace two red meat meals each week with fish. Fish, especially salmon, contain omega-3 fatty acids that are essential for a healthy heart. Salmon is delicious when baked with herbs and served with steamed or stir-fried vegetables.

Leave the salt in the pantry and cook with fresh or dried herbs. Herbs not only add rich flavor to food, they also contain powerful antioxidants to help reduce cell damage. Herbs should be part of your diet to help reduce heart disease, fight high cholesterol and reduce your risk of diabetes.

Overall, try to select a variety of whole foods over processed foods whenever possible. A well-balanced diet, daily exercise, stress management, and adequate sleep are some of the essentials for preventing heart disease and boosting heart health.

3 Best Sources of Veggie Protein

High cholesterol, heart disease, and obesity are serious health problems associated with eating a high-fat diet. Fatty meats, such as beef and pork, can increase the fat in your blood and raise cholesterol to unhealthy levels, leading to coronary artery disease and heart disease. One way to cut the fat in your diet is to eat less meat. While meat contains a rich source of protein, you can also get sufficient protein from vegetables. Protein is an essential nutrient, but you don’t need to consume a lot of it to be healthy. The recommended daily allowance of protein for most people is about 0.36 grams of protein for every pound of your body weight. For the average adult, this is about 50 grams of protein per day. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC.gov), women need about 46 grams and men 56 grams of protein each day. You may be concerned about getting enough protein if you eat less meat to help reduce cholesterol and fat in your diet. With some planning, even vegetarians and vegans can get enough essential protein by eating vegetables and grains.

The avocado is one of the richest vegetable sources of protein. Technically a fruit, avocado contains about 4 grams of protein per cup. Avocado also includes all the essential amino acids to build muscle tissue and make the additional proteins your body needs. Amino acids are crucial for building and repairing muscle tissue and critical to a healthy immune system. When you eat avocados, you get the added benefit of omega-3 fatty acids that are important for a healthy heart. Fresh, raw avocado is the best choice for protein. Eat it raw, sliced on a salad, a sandwich, or lightly sautéed in avocado oil. Try adding some avocado oil to your salad for a delicious, nutritious alternative to high-calorie, high-fat, and bottled dressings.

All legumes are high in protein, and peas are no exception. One cup of peas contains almost 8 grams of protein. Peas are a great option as a side dish, in soups, or eaten raw in salads. You can also blend peas into a dip or pesto, prepare as hummus, or add fresh peas to fruit smoothies. Other beans to add to your diet for protein include kidney beans, pinto beans, and black beans. Two cups of kidney beans contain more than 25 grams of protein or about half of the daily recommended amount of protein for the average adult male. Consume beans alone, as a side dish, or add to soups, stews, and salads. Try adding black beans to whole grain rice. If you buy dry beans, soak them overnight in plain water. Rinse and then cook them until tender.

Soy is a nutritious source of vegetable protein. Many people enjoy soy as a meat substitute and the main ingredient in veggie burgers. Even if you don’t like soy as a meat substitute, you might love edamame. Edamame is simply an immature soybean, still in the pod, like snow peas, except you don’t eat the bean pod. You can eat edamame raw or cooked, boiled, steamed, and hot or cold. Try it cooked and sprinkled with salt as an appetizer, a side dish, or add it to salads and pasta. Roast edamame like chickpeas and serve alone or as a side dish. One-half cup of edamame contains more than 8 grams of protein.

 

 

References:

Centers of Disease Control:  Protein

http://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/everyone/basics/protein.html

 

Photo credit:

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Best Morning Exercises to Energize Your Day

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We’ve all had days when we didn’t want to get out of bed. To energize your body for the day ahead, try doing some Pilates or other exercises right in your bed. Perform stretching exercises in your bed before you go down for your morning coffee and breakfast to jump-start your metabolism. A morning workout in your bed can help you have more energy for your regular workout routine later in the day. Your mind and body will ready to take on whatever challenges come your way throughout the day. Throw back the covers and exercise!

After hours of sleeping, your back may feel a bit stiff. Roll your body into a ball to stretch out your spine and work your abs. Sit up in bed and bring your knees to your chest. Hold your knees with your hands, and then curve your back by bending forward over your knees. Roll back on the bed on your back and then roll to the upright position again. Perform this exercise for 10 repetitions.

Strengthen and energize your core muscles by doing some leg lifts next. Stretch out on your bed with your legs extended and your arms relaxed by your side. Point your toes toward the ceiling. Lift your left heel off the bed about 12 inches. Lower your left leg until your heel is approximately 1 inch from the bed. Hold your leg off the bed for about 10 seconds, and then raise your leg back up. Repeat 10 times for each leg.

Bring your knees up to your chest and point your toes. Lift your head and shoulders off the bed, using only your abdominal muscles. Hold this position for about 10 to 15 seconds and then relax. Repeat this exercise 10 times. Stretch your abdominal and back muscles next by bending your knees so that your lower legs are parallel to the bed. Keep your feet and knees together, and your shoulders flat against the bed. Swing both knees to the right side of the bed. Try to keep your shoulders on the bed. Hold for 10 seconds and then swing your legs to the left side. Do 10 repetitions for each side.