It can be tough to get out of bed, especially on days when you feel stiff, sore, or lethargic. One way to ease yourself into the day is by doing simple morning stretches. Stretching can increase your blood flow, help your muscles relax, and boost your energy.
Here are some of the best stretches you can do every morning before you start your daily tasks. They’re beginner-friendly and don’t require any equipment other than a mat. These stretches target various body parts, including the neck, shoulders, spine, hips, and legs. Hold each pose for 15 to 30 seconds to give your body time to reap the benefits.
Spinal twists are a great way to decompress the spine and restore its natural range of motion after a night of not moving. They’re ideal for those who tend to wake up with back pain. Twists also cleanse your organs, introduce fresh blood to them, and improve your digestive function.
- From a reclined position, pull your right knee up towards your chest.
- On your next exhale, let your knee drop to the left side while keeping both shoulders grounded on the mat.
- Spread your arms to a ‘T’ and gaze towards the right.
- Repeat on the other side.
The happy baby pose is one of the best ways to open your hips in the morning and release any pent-up tension. It also stretches the groin area, inner thighs, and hamstrings while giving you a spinal massage. In addition, it can boost your mood and melt away any nervous energy.
- From a reclined position, draw your knees towards your chest.
- Hold on to the outer edges of your feet. If they’re not accessible, you can hold on to your ankles.
- Pull your knees towards your armpits and press your shoulders into the mat.
- Gently rock from side to side and straighten your legs if it feels good.
Child’s pose is a restorative yoga pose that gently stretches your ankles, hips, quads, spine, and shoulders. In addition, it triggers the body’s rest-and-digest mode, allowing you to start the day relaxed.
- Begin on all fours with your hips over your knees and your toes untucked.
- Inhale and lengthen your spine.
- Exhale and send your hips back to rest your glutes on your heels.
- Rest your forehead on the mat and stretch your arms overhead. You can also rest them by your sides if that’s what you prefer.
Cat and Cow
Cat and cow are two poses done alternately to introduce mobility to the spine and stretch the front and back of the body. The combination also massages the organs in the abdominal region and releases fresh blood to them. It can help you feel more awake and energized in the morning.
- Begin on all fours with your shoulders over your wrists, hips over your knees, and spine neutral.
- Inhale, lower your belly towards the ground, and gaze towards the ceiling.
- Exhale and arch your back while pressing your hands into the mat and gazing towards your navel.
Downward Facing Dog
Downward Facing Dog is a gentle way to activate and stretch the muscles in the morning. It opens the shoulders and lengthens the spine, hamstrings, and calves. It also strengthens the upper body, core, and legs. In addition, it can offer relief to those with sciatica. Hold it for at least 30 seconds to maximize the pose’s benefits.
- Assume an all-fours position and tuck your toes.
- On your next exhale, send your hips back and press your belly towards your thighs.
- Press your palms into the mat, straighten your arms, and roll the shoulders outwards.
- Keep a bend in the knees if your hamstrings are feeling tight.
The Bottom Line
Stretching in the morning is supposed to benefit your body, not harm you. To prevent injuries, listen to your body and only go as far as it’s comfortable. Back off immediately if you feel any sharp or stabbing pain. Instead of going deep, focus on proper form and prioritize lengthening the spine. For more information, contact Fletcher Chiropractic at 402-261-5766.