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A longevity doctor shares his 10-minute morning routine to reduce stress and improve focus

A split image showing a picture of a glass of water with lemon on a sunny table next to a picture of Dr. Kien Vuu.
Dr. Kien Vuu, who specializes in longevity, said his 10 minute morning routine of hydrating, exercise, and meditation has major health benefits.imagedepotpro/Getty Images
  • Anti-aging specialist Dr. Kien Vuu said his morning routine helps to promote health and longevity.

  • He includes evidence-based habits like exercise, breathwork, and meditation.

  • The routine is simple and easy to follow to reduce stress and improve focus in just a few minutes.

A doctor who specializes in anti-aging said he starts every day with a simple 10-minute morning routine that combines multiple science-based strategies for a longer, healthier life.

Dr. Kien Vuu, a triple-board certified physician with a focus on performance and longevity, said that there are five categories or "pillars" of health: physical, mental, emotional, social, and purpose.

While it may seem overwhelming to try to juggle all of them, you incorporate each aspect into daily healthy habits that take just a few minutes at a time.

"Every moment in life, we have an opportunity to make a choice in how we show up," he told Business Insider.

Vuu said his morning routine checks off several categories for boosting longevity, with exercise, stress-relieving breathwork, and a short meditation to improve mental and emotional health. The 10-minute routine can help you get a head start on your day, stay focused and energized, and help extend your lifespan all at once.

The day starts with a big glass of water and some sunshine

Vuu said his first step on waking up is to drink between eight to 16 ounces of water, with added lemon and electrolytes or mineral salt (such as pink Himalayan salt or Celtic sea salt, which you can find at grocery stores and have more trace elements like calcium and magnesium than regular table salt). Doing so helps to restore hydration and adds a boost of nutrients.

He also makes an effort to get direct sunlight on his skin and face in the morning, which can help support the body's natural sleep-wake cycles to support consistent energy levels.

He does a five minute exercise routine with qigong and burpees

Next, Vuu said he gets energized for the day ahead with a quick routine based on qigong, a practice of gentle, mindful exercise that originates in traditional Chinese medicine. The two movements he recommends are:

  • Qigong hops: Raise your shoulders up and then let them drop down, allowing your whole body to bounce as though you're on a trampoline

  • Qigong twists: Keeping your arms relaxed, twist from side to side, allowing your hands to swing and gently slap against your chest as you rotate. Repeat, this time letting your hands slap against your thighs with each twist.

He ends with a round of 10 to 15 burpees, providing a burst of high-intensity training.

Evidence suggests that short periods of exercise, particularly movements that raise your heart rate, can improve focus and help stave off the negative health effects of being sedentary.

"It's building energy," Vuu said. "Just five minutes is enough to get the energy going."

A few minutes of breathwork help set the tone for the day

After exercise, Vuu said he sets aside two to three minutes to practice breathing techniques that can help enhance focus and relieve stress.

There are a variety of deep breathing strategies you can try — the simplest is to inhale through your nose for four seconds, hold for seven seconds, and exhale for eight seconds.

Vuu also shared an energizing morning breathwork practice on his Vimeo channel. Here's what he suggests:

  • Inhale through the nose, focusing on "belly breathing" and inflating the abdomen.

  • Without exhaling, immediately inhale through the nose again, this time bringing air into the chest.

  • Exhale through the mouth.

  • Repeat for 10 cycles, then do the same pattern at double speed.

    Next:

  • Take a deep breath through the nose, engaging all the muscles of your body, and hold for 10 to 15 seconds.

  • Exhale through the mouth, then pause for 30 seconds, focusing on a few key words you want to embody for the day ahead. Examples include connection, calm, focus, or joy.

  • End with a final deep breath in, holding for 10 to 15 seconds and releasing.

  • Repeat twice for a total of three rounds.

He ends his morning routine with a short gratitude meditation

Vuu said meditation is a regular part of his routine, particularly exercises that emphasize gratitude. He said that he was initially skeptical of gratitude exercises, instead focusing on the next achievement or milestone instead of what he already had.

"I didn't pay attention to gratitude at all until my mid 30s. I felt like I needed more to feel more worthy," Vuu said.

Gratitude meditation can be as simple as taking one minute to focus on things in your life that you're grateful for, which Vuu said causes changes in the body and brain that can boost health and longevity. For instance, evidence suggests gratitude releases feel-good hormones like oxytocin that help reduce blood pressure and regulate other measures of physical (and mental) health.

"Every time we feel gratitude, there's a biochemical response that has anti-inflammatory benefits," he said.

Read the original article on Business Insider