Navigation

How to create a healthy morning routine

Walking boots
Lead Behavioural Insights Advisor, BGUK
30 June 2022
Next review due June 2025

Do you find it hard to create new and healthy habits ? We have busy lives, and it can be difficult to know where to begin. Starting a healthy morning routine can be a great way to make a positive change in your life. Here I explain the benefits of starting your day well, and share some tips for sticking to a new morning routine.

What is a healthy morning routine?

A healthy morning routine is when you begin your day with things which make you feel good, both mentally and physically. By doing this you avoid starting the day rushed, stressed and with no time for yourself.

Creating a morning routine also gives you time for yourself before your day gets busy in other ways. Ideally you will get into the habit of doing it each and every day. It will also hopefully set you up for a healthier day overall. In fact, behavioural change science shows that when you do something regularly, it becomes automatic and part of your daily life - just like brushing your teeth.

What should be included in a healthy morning routine?

A healthy morning routine might look a little different for everyone, but they usually have some things in common. For example, you might like to include some type of movement, a short meditation, and some healthy food, as part of your routine. Here are some things you could try.

Movement

  • Try some gentle yoga – you could add in just 5-10 minutes of simple stretches with deep breathing to help wake you up and energise your body and mind.
  • Vigorous morning exercise such as HIIT (high impact interval training) can help you maintain a healthy weight, and give you a caffeine-free energy boost.
  • Get walking outside. If you walk the dog each morning, why not take a different route and include some nature as part of this?

Meditation

  • Spend 5 minutes focusing on taking deep belly breaths before you get up. This can help to soothe your nervous system.
  • A short, seated meditation using an app can help you to manage stress later in the day.
  • Mindful movement counts too – this can be walking, tai chi, yoga, or any other mind-body practice.
  • Even noticing the sensations of the water on your skin as you shower can help you to be present.

Healthy breakfast

  • Why not start the morning by drinking a couple of glasses of water to hydrate you after sleep?
  • Waiting until 10am before drinking coffee can help to prevent anxiety. Try switching to green tea instead.
  • Add protein to your breakfast to balance your blood sugar. You could try adding peanut butter to your toast or plain yoghurt to your porridge.
  • Add berries to breakfast for an antioxidant boost to start the day.

What are the benefits of a healthy morning routine?

You might find that a healthy morning routine gives you more energy, makes you feel calmer. It may even help you to be more productive too.

Here’s a list of some other benefits of sticking to a healthy morning routine too.

  • Better sleep. Studies have shown that exercising in the morning can reduce stress, and help you to sleep better the following night.
  • Body clock regulation. If you go outside as part of your exercise routine, you can reset your body clock by being exposed to daylight. This can help you feel more alert without relying on drinks with caffeine, such as coffee.
  • Improved nutrition. Eating a good breakfast is a chance to include valuable fibre, fruit and dairy in your diet. Studies show that people who eat breakfast regularly tend to be slimmer than those who don’t.
  • Better mood. There’s evidence that exercise can help to boost your mood. Try adding some morning movement into your daily routine,. It might help you to feel less stressed as you start your day.

How to start a healthy morning routine

It’s easy to get caught up scrolling your phone before you even get up. This can use up valuable time and prevent you from doing things for yourself. Try to keep your phone on airplane mode until you have finished your routine, so you don’t get distracted.

It’s also important to plan ahead to help you to start your morning routine. You might like to:

  • lay out your workout clothes so they are ready to go
  • make overnight oats for an easy breakfast option
  • download an app to use for your meditations

Remember that starting a new habit or routine can take time. Don’t be surprised if some days you don’t manage to do everything on your list. You are also more likely to form a new habit if you start small. Start by doing the routine once a week. Then gradually built up to doing it to every day.

The important thing here is to be consistent. Missing one or two days won’t stop your habit from becoming automatic. But, the more you do your routine, and feel the benefits, you are more likely to keep it up for good.


Do you know how healthy you truly are? Bupa health assessments give you a clear overview of your health and a view of any future health risks. You'll receive a personal lifestyle action plan with health goals to reach for a happier, healthier you.

Walking boots
Rex Fan
Lead Behavioural Insights Advisor, BGUK

    • Gardner B. Making health habitual: the psychology of ‘habit formation’ and general practice. Br J Gen Pract 2012;62:664-666. doi: 10.3399/bjgp12X659466
    • Lally P, Van Jaarsveld C, Potts H et al. How habits are formed – modelling habit formation in the real world. European journal of social psychology 2009;40:998-1009. DOI: 10.1002/ejsp.674
    • Woodyard C. Exploring the therapeutic effects of yoga and its ability to increase quality of life. Int J Yoga 2011;4:49-54. doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2021-104046
    • Falcone P, Tai C, Carson L et al. Caloric expenditure of aerobic, resistance or combined high intensity interval training using a hydraulic resistance system in healthy men. J Strength Cond Res 2015;29:779-85. doi:10.1519/JSC.00000000000661
    • Rupali D, Vinchurkar S. The pros and cons of morning and evening exercise – a review article. Journal of Dental and Medical sciences 2020; 19:01-07. doi: 10.9790/0853-1912140107
    • Russo M, Santarelli D, O’Rourke D. The physiological effects of slow breathing in the healthy human. Breathe 2017;13:298-309. doi:10.1183/20734735.009817
    • Meditation. American psychological association. www.apa.org, created October 30, 2019
    • Mindfulness exercises and tips. Mind UK. www.mind.org.uk, accessed 30 June 2022
    • Lovallo W, Whitsett T, al’Abasi M et al. Caffeine stimulation of cortisol secretion across the waking hours in relation to caffeine intake levels. Psychosom Med 2005;67:734-739. doi: 10.1097/01.psv.0000181270.20036.06
    • Gannon M, Nuttal F, Saeed A et al. An increase in dietary protein improves the blood glucose response in persons with type 2 diabetes. Am J Clin Nutr 2003; 78:734-41. doi:10.1093/ajcn/78.4.734
    • Olas B. Berry phenolic antioxidants – implications for human health. Front Pharmacol 2018; 9:78. doi: 10.3389/fphar.2018.00078
    • Huang B, Duncan M, Cisulli P et al. Sleep and physical activity in relation to all cause cardiovascular disease and cancer mortality risk. British Journal of Sports Medicine 2021;56(13). doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2021-104046
    • The best time of day to exercise. The Sleep Foundation. www.sleepfoundation.org, accessed 29 June 2022
    • de la Hunty A, Ashwell M. Are people who regularly eat breakfast slimmer than those who don’t? A systematic review of the evidence. Nutrition Bulletin 2007;32:118-128. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-3010.2007.00638.x
    • Anderson A, Shivakumar G. Effects of exercise and physical activity on anxiety. Front Psychiatry 2013;4:27. doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2013.00027
    • Personal Communication. Rex Fan, Behavioural Insights Advisor, June 2022

About our health information

At Bupa we produce a wealth of free health information for you and your family. This is because we believe that trustworthy information is essential in helping you make better decisions about your health and wellbeing.

Our information has been awarded the PIF TICK for trustworthy health information. It also follows the principles of the The Information Standard.

The Patient Information Forum tick

Learn more about our editorial team and principles >

Did you find our advice helpful?

We’d love to hear what you think. Our short survey takes just a few minutes to complete and helps us to keep improving our healthy lifestyle articles.

ajax-loader