Doing some simple stretches in the morning can help you start the day with energy. Stretching in the morning can also help increase your confidence before you even begin work. You may not even need that morning coffee – unless you want it for the flavor!
Some studies even say that regular stretching along with other forms of exercise can help you increase flexibility while decreasing back pain and stress, and even helping to manage other health conditions.
The best part is that you won’t even have to get out of bed for most of them!
Types of stretches
This article will focus on dynamic stretches (rather than static stretches) for your morning routine. Dynamic stretches are when you stretch while engaging in a gentle and repetitive movement, which helps your muscles wake up and get your blood going. Static stretches are done without movement and are best after exercise.
You will want to do these stretches slowly and gently. After all, you are waking up your body which has been under the effects of gravity for a good few hours. It takes a bit of time to redistribute fluids and energy throughout your limbs after sleep.
Pick and choose a few of these – you don’t have to do them all in one go.
On your back, bring both legs up to your chest and hug them tight. Next, release both legs and hug one leg at a time with the other one straight. Repeat a few times on each side.
Still, on your back, lift one bent knee (at a 90-degree angle) and roll it to the opposite side. Rest it on the floor if you can. Keep both shoulders on the bed. If you are comfortable in this position, stretch your arms out in line with your shoulders. Turn your head away from your knee and feel the stretch on your side and lower back. Breathe deep, then repeat on the other side.
Still, on your back, put your arms down by your sides with your hands on the floor. Raise both knees and do a cycling motion in the air for 30 to 60 seconds. Reverse direction.
Note: You can do this exercise with a hip circle band like this one https://victoremgear.com/products/hip-circle round your thighs if you wish.
On your stomach, put both hands underneath your shoulders. Gently lift up your head and chest from the bed while keeping your pelvis and hips on the bed. Make sure both elbows are tucked in by your sides and keep your neck and shoulders relaxed. Hold for up to 20 seconds before lowering yourself gently back down.
Full body stretch
Stand with your feet hip-distance apart, and bring your left arm up over your head. Put your weight on your right leg as you reach diagonally up over your right shoulder. Extend your left leg to the side to add to the stretch, pointing your left foot. Do this 5 to 10 times, then switch sides.
Note: You can hold onto a door frame, wall, chair, or another object for balance if needed.
Knees to elbows
Walk from one side of the room to another or down a hallway. As you do so, gently bring up your left knee to meet your left elbow. Do the same with your right knee and right elbow, till you’ve done it 5 to 10 times on each side.
You can then repeat with a cross-movement: bring the opposite knee up to meet the opposite elbow.
This works seated or standing, as long as your back is straight. Inhale deeply through your nose while bringing your shoulder blades together, as if you wanted them to touch each other. Slowly breathe out through your mouth. Repeat 5 to 10 times.
This exercise is excellent to do outside in the fresh air if you can.
Stand comfortably with your feet hip-distance apart. Allow your arms to swing freely from side to side.
Repeat a few times.
Lower leg stretches
This stretch is great for your calves, which get a lot of action during a typical day! Stand tall with your feet hip-distance apart. Bare feet work best for this stretch.
Now draw yourself up onto your toes so that your weight is on the balls of your feet. Really stretch yourself as if you were trying to reach something up high. Slowly lower your feet back down to the ground. Repeat this 5 to 10 times.