5:45 AM The alarm buzzes beside me. I slowly open my eyes and shut it off. Okay, I think to myself, time to get up. Let’s be honest, I don’t want to roll out of bed to workout before spending a long day at the office. As I drag myself out of bed, I change into my workout clothes and drive to the park, desperately trying to wake up with the help of loud music and some ice water. I pull into a familiar parking space and stretched out before me is the long gravel five-mile trail.

With stiff joints, I begin to run. I turn on The Dangerous Summer’s acoustic album and try to drown out the sound of my breathing. A soft breeze falls over the park.

When I reach the pond at the end of the park, the sun spills through the trees and casts shadows against the path. “Never Feel Alone” begins to play as my pace meets the rhythm of the song.

I push on, trying not to give in to the urge to stop. My heart is steady and my feet seem to be moving with more ease. The air feels heavy with the day. Moving faster, my heart beats with a new sense of intensity.

I make my way into the final leg of my course. Breathing heavy, I can feel the sweat rolling down my face. The acoustic melody of “No one’s gonna need you more,” carries me through the duration of the run. I ascend one last hill and slow to a walk.

My heart, stunned by the sudden lack of motion, begin to slow. I breathe deeply and try to catch my breath. My legs feel weak, but my body feels awake. It’s 7:30 a.m., and I’m ready for the day.

Waking up early can be one of the greatest challenges we face with exercise. The initial challenge of getting out of bed can be one of the greatest factors that prevent us from following through. But a workout in the morning leads to a more productive day.

If you struggle to get out of bed and get moving, find a type of exercise that you enjoy. Maybe it’s running along a beautiful park path. Maybe it’s joining a Crossfit gym and setting goals for yourself each morning. Maybe this means spending some peaceful time doing yoga each morning. Regardless of what it is, find something that motivates you, and gets you moving. Your day will be much better when you start it with a workout.