Have you ever woken up in the morning and felt like you couldn’t move? Maybe your legs or back are stiff, and just getting up seems like a real chore. If so, it’s probably because your muscles have tightened up after a night of sleep, even if you did some stretches before bed.
If you just force yourself to get up and go about your day, though, you could be putting yourself at risk of long-term injury. That’s why it’s essential to do some stretching in the morning. Not only will it wake your body up, but you’ll also increase your overall flexibility and prevent serious injury down the road.
So, what stretches should you do? Of course, that depends on where you feel the stiffest. That said, here are five different stretches that are good for just about anyone to do in the morning. As you might know, we’re big fans of doing yoga, and all of these can be done as part of a morning yoga practice. Just remember to start slow and build up your flexibility over time. Also, it’s a good idea to do these on a mat or soft carpeting to ensure you don’t slip.
One of the easiest stretches to do, and it works wonders for the back! Simply kneel on the floor with your knees about shoulder-width apart but with your toes touching. Sit back on your heels and take a deep breath. On your exhale, gently bend at the waist so your belly moves towards your thighs. Lay your hands on your sides with palms up and allow the weight of your shoulders to pull your top half towards the floor. Keep your shoulder blade wide and hold for about 30 – 90 seconds.
Knees to Chest
This stretch helps to loosen up your hamstrings, which can have an impact on back pain. To do this, lie on your back with one leg bent, foot on floor. Lift your other leg into the air. Clasp both hands behind the knee and gently pull your leg towards your chest. Hold for 20 – 30 seconds and then alternate.
This stretch can really help you with flexibility in the hips, as well as ease back pain. Lie on your back and raise one of your knees. Grasp it with the opposite hand and gently pull your knee to the floor. Keep your other arm extend to the side to counter-balance. Hold for 20 – 30 seconds and then do the other side.
This one is particularly great for people who work in front of computers most of the day. It’s also super simple! In a standing position, look forward, relax your shoulders and slowly move your right ear towards your right shoulder. Use your right hand on the left side of your head to gently pull the head down, but be careful not to overextend. Hold for 20 – 30 seconds and then switch sides.
This one requires a wall to maximize your stretching. Place both hands on the wall, fingers pointing up. Take one step back with your left leg and gently push your heel to the ground. Keep your right leg slightly bent at the knee. Hold for 20 – 30 seconds and then alternate legs.