I am a morning person, but that doesn’t mean I’m disciplined to work out when I first wake up. In fact, when I do motivate myself to work out I completely jump into my activity without stretching. Yet many people will warn you that a proper stretch before exercising can save you plenty of trouble and pain later. That’s why I’d like to share 7 morning stretches to kickstart your day.
Jessica Matthews, an assistant professor of kinesiology and the author of Stretching to Stay Young, is a firm believer in the proper stretch. Matthews states that stretching in the morning — especially dynamic stretches — can serve as a perfect way to gradually warm and awaken the mind. It also serves as a way for your body to prepare for whatever the day may have in store.
Forget starting the day with a cup of coffee. Try these stretch routines for at least 30 seconds to get a full stretch.
Neck Rotation Stretch
I couldn’t forget about the neck! Especially how stiff I feel in the neck when I wake up in the morning. This simple stretch can begin with you sitting on the edge of the bed and is exactly how it sounds. Rotate your neck in a circle and touch your ears to your shoulders. Rotate slowly three times in a clockwise direction, then counterclockwise three times.
Now it’s time to loosen up those shoulders! While you’re still sitting on the edge of the bed, shrug your shoulders up to your ears. Repeat this 10 times to get loosened up.
This restorative yoga pose is great for gently stretching out your hips, pelvis, thighs, and spine, all of which can be a bit tight in the morning. I know it feels really great when I’ve slept a little “wrong” and feel twisted up. This pose is also known to calm the brain and relieve stress and fatigue — perfect for starting the day off on the right foot.
For an example, click: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V22xxybieHk
Lie on your stomach and place your hands flat beneath your shoulders. Tuck your elbows in by your sides and gently raise your head and chest, keeping your hips and groin on the bed. If it feels comfortable, you can go a little deeper by lifting your tummy off the bed too. Remember to relax your neck and shoulders. Hold the stretch for 15-20 seconds and when you’re ready, gently lower back down.
For an example, click: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JDcdhTuycOI
Stand shoulder-length apart and then put your hands on a wall or chair. Keep your heels on the ground and knees straight while leaning into the chair or wall. Feel that stretch!
For an example, click: https://www.shape.com/fitness/videos/calf-stretches-mobility-tight-muscles
Press to the Sky
Stand with your feet hip width apart. Interlace your hands, and press your palms straight up to the ceiling so your upper arm bones frame your face. Squeeze your biceps in by your ears, hugging your skin, muscles, and bones toward your spine. Think about gently pulling your upper arm bones back. Take five deep breaths seated and then standing.
Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana)
Another yoga pose, but a great way to end your morning stretch routine. This movement is known to calm the brain, relieve stress, and ease fatigue. It also feels kind of like you’re giving yourself a hug, which is never a bad thing.
Learn how to practice safely, here: https://www.yogajournal.com/videos/yogapedia-standing-forward-bend-uttanasana
Did these stretches help your morning routine? Is there a stretch you think I left out? I’d love to hear your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org. And please be sure to subscribe to my Heart & Soul blog newsletter to receive more great blog posts straight to your inbox each Friday.