Mornings are not always easy for everyone. As a result, many people develop daily morning rituals to help ease themselves into the day. Some smack the snooze button, others check their phones and a few immediately hit the showers. Of course, don’t forget about those who can’t live without their daily dose of coffee, especially given 62 percent of Americans fall under that category. However, there is a useful tool often overlooked when getting ready to start the day—a stretch routine. If morning schedules are centered around getting your body right for your day, why not set aside three-to-five minutes to slow the mind and optimize physically mobility? Here are seven (of many) stretches that aim to do just that.
After a long night of sleeping “wrong”, this simple stretch helps alleviate some of the soreness and strains located in the spine, hips and hamstrings (to name a few). Start on all fours with your knees under your hips. Inhale and then as you exhale, bend forward, and extend your hands and arms forward on the mat. Hold in that position for a few breaths with your forehead on the mat and then inhale going up. Repeat.
A relieving stretch for the spine and upper body, the overhead shoulder stretch is something people can do when they are ready to get out of bed. Simply stand next to or sit on top of your bed, lace your fingers and raise your palms to the ceiling. As with all the stretches, make sure you are maintaining a steady breath.
This is a stretch that almost everyone has done, and for good reason. Sitting on the floor or on a mat and extending your arms toward your toes optimizes flexibility in your legs and may even help with lower back pain.
Need to stretch out the hamstrings a little more? Start with lying on your back with your legs extended. Next, grab and bend one leg while keeping the other straight. Pull the back end of your thigh to your chest and hold it until you feel a good stretch. Switch and repeat on the opposite leg.
With your head, shoulders and back in one place on the bed or floor, bring your knees together and roll to one side of your body. After holding for a few breaths, roll to the other side and hold in that position, which ultimately is meant to work on your lower back muscles.
Working on the abdominals and spine, do not get fooled by the name of this stretch, thinking it is a “killer”. Arguably one of the simplest stretches on the list, the Cobra consists of lying on your stomach with your hands above or at shoulder level on the floor. Press down on your forearms and slowly lift your chest up, making sure to breathe consistently and controlled all the way through
How about a stretch you can do while still under the blanket? We all have done it at one point or another while lying in bed, deciphering between the consequences of missing a day of school or work just to get some extra rest. Simply lay flat on the bed and extend your arms above your head and your legs out. This is a true head-to-toe stretch that will help keep your body and muscles from feeling like a tight rubber band.
What stretch helps you the most in kickstarting your day? Tell us at firstname.lastname@example.org