“Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” — Benjamin Franklin “Carpe Diem” — Horace “The early bird catches the worm.” — John Ray The crack of dawn. The AM. First light. Daybreak. Sunrise. Sunup. The wee hours. The morning. Whatever you call it, most people feel very, very strongly about it. No one ever feels just “eh” about the morning; it’s love or loathe. According to basic physiology, our biological clocks are programmed to be awake during the day and sleep at night. Cortisol (stress hormone) begins to increase in the morning as the sun rises (waking us up) and decreases through the evening until we fall asleep. Melatonin (sleep hormone) does the opposite. As cortisol drops in the evening, Melatonin begins to rise. Disruption in this cycle can affect other hormones which can lead to issues with maintaining and sustaining optimal function. That’s why we’ve joined forces with another nationally recognized health expert to to help you seize the day and your health! Are you ready for CHALLENGE #10? Here’s what to do: Pledge to wake up 20 minutes earlier than you normally do, every day for 10 days. Don’t hit the snooze button! It’s going to take some dicipline and some planning ahead but, you can do it… and you’ll feel better for it, too. When: From Monday, February 20th to Wednesday, February 29th Who says? Pilates Expert Mari Winsor, creator of Winsor Pilates, is widely credited with popularizing Pilates and making this once-obscure workout accessible to the public. With a DVD empire and two Winsor Pilates studios, Mari has a continuous roster of A-list clients including Drew Barrymore, Elizabeth Berkeley, Jewel, Melanie Griffith, Meg Ryan, Sharon Stone, Marisa Tomei and Dita Von Teese to name a few. She credits her success in part to a balanced lifestyle, including regular exercise, eating healthy and a consistent sleep schedule. Why: Not only does Mari preach healthy sleep habits to her swarms of celebrity and non-celebrity clients alike, but in 2010, Harvard biologist Christophe Randler discovered that early birds are in general way healthier than night-owls. Randler’s study found that early risers are more proactive. They were more likely to identify long-range goals and take charge in the planning and execution of day-to-day tasks. Early risers who report using their morning quiet time for organization and goal-setting were able to sensibly and realistically plan out their schedules weeks in advance, making them more time efficient and giving them the opportunity to make time for things they wouldn’t normal be able to do, like spending time with family or taking relaxing vacations. Randler’s research also revealed that “morning people” are more likely to anticipate problems and minimize them efficiently, which leads to more success in their business and personal lives. Waking up early means you’ll have to tweak your schedule to go to bed earlier, which in turn means you’ll get a better sleep, helping your body heal faster. Sleep experts say the more meaningful and restorative sleep you get, the more your body has time to mend and repair itself, making you less prone to aches and pains. And for all you night-owl, nocturnal, all-nighters out there, when you stay awake at night you’re fighting your body’s natural circadian rhythms along with it’s ability to hormonally regulate itself. This can cause serious detrimental effects on your health and well-being. What’s in it for me? (The early bird gets the spa, too!) Besides feeling more rested, restored and rejuvenated, just by RSVPing to Mari’s challenge event on Facebook and sharing your success stories or struggles, you’ll be automatically entered to win a $50 Spa & Wellness Gift Card by Spa Week. What can you do with an extra 20 minutes? Now that you’ve pledged to wake up earlier than your used to, you’ll be able to take advantage of the time at hand, and use it to your full advantage. Here Mari’s suggestion list of all the things you could be doing during your extra 20 minutes… Take a walk Eat breakfast Take a longer morning shower Make yourself lunch Beat the rush-hour commute and get to work stress-free Do a stretch routine you like Write a to-do list for the day Meditate Read a book Do some deep breathing Listen to classical music Try Pilates (Head on over to Mari’s site, www.winsorfitclub.com and join for $1 for the first week to workout in the comfort of your own home, anytime you want. Plus, coming soon, Mari’s Winsor Pilates App for iPad with full-length video workouts and routines.) We’ll be bringing you some exclusive Mari approved routines in a future post, stay tuned! More on Mari: In 1990, Mari opened her first Pilates studio in Los Angeles, and introduced her innovative signature workout, “dynamic sequencing,” based on techniques developed by Joseph Pilates. Soon after, the highly visible bodies of musicians, professional athletes, and celebrities began to flock to her studio to be shaped, toned, and strengthened. Eager to learn as much as she possible could about Pilates, in 1992, Mari began studying with Romana Kryzanowska, who trained with Joseph Pilates and took over his New York studio upon his death. After one year of intense study, Mari earned her certification in the true technique of Joseph Pilates. Mari continues to study with Romana to this day. In 2003, Mari brought Pilates to a new level of public recognition when she released her first infomercial. The record-breaking success of the Winsor Pilates workout series and award-winning infomercials was unparalleled. Thirty videos later and over 50 million programs sold, Mari’s groundbreaking dynamic workouts have helped millions of Americans get the body they want making Winsor Pilates a household name. Committed to sharing her knowledge and experience with the public, Mari has created an Online Winsor Pilates Fitness Club. She has co-authored three books: The Pilates Powerhouse; The Pilates Pregnancy: Maintaining Strength, Flexibility and Your Figure; and The Pilates Workout Journal: An Exercise Diary and Conditioning Guide. Mari’s fitness expertise has been featured in countless magazines such as: Allure, Glamour, Fit Pregnancy, Health, InStyle, More, Redbook, Shape, Vogue, W, and Woman’s World.