While drinking coffee is good for you, don’t just rely on that cup of joe to get you going. Develop a smart morning routine—it sets the tone for a good day and gives you energy to conquer even the wildest schedule. Here, six doctors tell us how they start their days right
6 Doctors Share the Morning Routines They Swear By to Feel Great All Day
When you hop out of bed for an a.m. workout, you don’t want to think too much. So plan a quick routine the night before.
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Steven Reich, M.D., an orthopedic surgeon based in central New Jersey, has a go-to sequence. “I do a regimented workout with several sets of pushups and some core stabilization,” he says. This usually includes two sets of 40 pushups, two sets of 40 situps, plus planks with one leg extended (which you can master here).
(If you’re looking for a workout that will help you dominate your mornings, check out METASHRED EXTREME, the most efficient metabolic training system in Men’s Health history.)
Before you set foot near the Keurig, glug a cup of plain old water. “For health’s sake you need to hydrate with water, not just coffee,” says Mark Noar, M.D, an endoscopic microsurgeon based in Towson, Maryland.
After all, dehydration could put you in a crabby morning mood. Think you drink enough already? Count your bathroom trips. In a recent study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, well-hydrated people peed an average of seven times a day.
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Arthur Lowy, M.D., a gastroenterologist in Woodbury, New York, stretches for five to 10 minutes a few mornings per week. “I do a variety of exercises and stretches, like yoga for my back,” he says.
Try it yourself with this 30-Second Stretch You Should Do Every Morning.
When the house is packed with people and the office is packed with patients by 8 a.m., it’s hard to take time for yourself.
That’s why Marvin Gelkopf M.D., a family doctor in Toronto, squeezes in a 45-minute elliptical and treadmill workout before everybody else wakes up. Before the sun rises, there are no interruptions, like the whole world is sleeping, he says.
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“I listen to music and watch the news with closed captions,” he says. “It’s a nice educational start to the day.”
Try these moves to help you break a sweat before work:
Rona Heublum-Colton M.D., an urgent care and internal medicine doctor based in Monroe, New York, brews a cup of organic coffee, sweetens it with a touch of stevia, and adds a splash of organic half and half.
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“Once my coffee is gone, I usually have a whey protein shake,” she says. “Sometimes I’ll have an omelet with one egg and two egg whites, peppers, onions, tomatoes, and avocado on the side.”
As a bonus during the darker, chilly seasons, Dr.Heublum-Colton turns on a light box while skimming her morning emails to help stave off seasonal mood issues.
If you head to the office before dawn and go home after dark, it’s easy to forget the importance of enjoying nature.
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“In the fall and winter, I like to go outside and let the cool air give me a wake-up call,” says Howard Waxman M.D., a pulmonologist based in East Brunswick, New Jersey.
A brisk walk along with an energizing oatmeal breakfast helps him kick off the morning. Skeptical? Try it anyway. Walking can boost your mood even if you don’t expect it to, according to a recent study published in Emotion.