No matter if our weekend was filled with relaxation, adventure or gluttony, motivating ourselves to exercise on a Monday is just plain difficult. We throw out all sorts of excuses: “I have so much I need to do this week” … “I have the rest of the week to work out” … the list goes on. But research shows we think a lot about recommitting to healthy actions on Mondays. Johns Hopkins University studied Google searches related to the word “healthy” and found health-related queries on Mondays and Tuesdays were 3% greater than Wednesdays, 15% greater than Thursdays, and a whopping 49% greater than Fridays (source). So if we are thinking about it, why not act on it!?

Woman tying shoes before workout

You might not be smiling when you start your workout, but you will be after!

StyleBlueprint CEO Liza Graves remembers an article that a former SB editor wrote many years ago with workout tips. One of those tips has never left the core of Liza’s exercise psyche: “Never skip your Monday workout! It’s so easy for a busy week to get in the way of working out. But, if I get my Monday workout in, I’m far more motivated the whole week. And, if the week gets the best of me, I can still work out Friday and once over the weekend and get my three workouts in — the minimum that I try to do each week. Monday is the key to making this work no matter what is thrown my way!”

Working out is more difficult for some than it is for others. Some look forward to it, many do not. But if you delegate some tasks (or just say “no”), move things around on your schedule, fight that fatigue or residual hangover, and just show up on Monday — to the gym, the class, the mat, the sidewalk — the hardest part is done. And it pays off. Here are four simple yet oh-so-rewarding reasons to never miss that Monday workout.

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You’re more likely to keep good habits the rest of the week.

Newton’s first law is at work here. A body at rest will remain at rest, and a body in motion will remain in motion. Take advantage of that clean slate Monday feeling by starting on the healthiest foot, knowing the rest of the week will fall in stride. The gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) neurotransmitters released when we exercise are proven to help control impulses and curb cravings. Plus, the confidence that comes with completing that first workout kickstarts other good habits throughout the week like eating well, meeting deadlines and getting those precious Zs. It takes a lot of willpower to lace up those sneakers on a Monday, but it can channel discipline in other aspects of your life, too. Once you start, why would you stop!? Take pride in your Monday toughness and harness that energy throughout your week.

You’ll quiet those anxious thoughts.

The week’s to-do list can really come rushing into our minds when we blink open to a fresh Monday. If you hit the gym, take a walk or crush a virtual class, you are actually doing your busy self a huge favor. This seems counterintuitive, right? What if you could spend that time going through emails so you’re less stressed? Well, exercise can actually induce an overall pattern of calm in certain parts of the brain that ease anxiety (source). Upping your heart rate changes brain chemistry, releasing anti-anxiety neurochemicals like serotonin, GABA, brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and others. And long after your Monday workout, continued exercise bolsters resilience against stormy emotions (source).

You’ll squash the Monday blues.

Remember that scene in Legally Blonde? “Endorphins make you happy …” well, you know the rest. Exercising boosts mood, self-esteem and perceived well-being, and there’s no better time than Monday to capitalize on this. We’ve all heard of the “runner’s high,” but you don’t have to be a marathoner to benefit from the science at work here. The same antidepressant-like effects associated with the “runner’s high” have been correlated with a drop in stress hormones. That intense feeling of accomplishment after a finished workout is just the beginning. One study found the average person doesn’t crack a smile on Monday until 11:16 a.m. Exercise can help change this.

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You’ll boost your brainpower and memory.

Morning brain fog is a real thing. It’s even more of a thing on Mondays. A study showed the antidepressant effect of running is correlated with increased cell growth in the hippocampus, the area of the brain responsible for memory and learning (source). When we increase our heart rate, more oxygen pumps to the brain and releases hormones that provide a perfect environment for the growth of brain cells. Exercise also promotes brain plasticity by stimulating the growth of new connections between cells in important areas of the brain. There is good evidence that shows exercise is an effective way to counter dementia and memory loss as we get older (source). This means problem-solving, planning, multitasking and memory skills are all being worked while you’re working on those abs.

Monday Workout Tips for Success

  • Pick an activity you enjoy for your Monday workout. It’s OK to save the harder workout for later in the week. Be kind to your Monday self.
  • Find a friend to join, and hold each other accountable.
  • Work to raise your heart rate, even if you’re just walking on a greenway or through the neighborhood.
  • Put your workout on your calendar and stick to it!

We have 52 chances each year to capitalize on this Monday workout magic, y’all! Let’s do it!

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