So much of how your day will go, and how productive you’ll be, depends on how you feel in the morning. The morning stretches in this article could give you the jump start you need to have a good day and help you tick the boxes on your To-Do list today. The best part is that you can start even before your feet touch the ground, lying in bed and building up some energy to face the day head on. It will only take about 10 minutes to complete all the stretches. Hold each stretch for 15-20 seconds and repeat each one two to three times, especially if your muscles and joints feel tight.
Remember to continuously take deep and long breaths while you are stretching. Breathing, as with all other forms of exercise, is just as important as the actual stretch itself and ensures that your muscles get enough oxygen while stretching. Paying attention to your breathing may also help improve your lung capacity over time.
LYING DOWN STRETCHES
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. You can go for a deeper stretch by lifting your tummy off the bed too, if that feels comfortable. Remember to relax your neck and shoulders. Hold the stretch for 15-20 seconds and when you’re ready, gently lower your chest back down. If your mattress is very soft, rather use an exercise mat or towel and do the Cobra stretch on the floor so as not to out too much strain on your lower back while stretching.
Lying on your back, raise your left knee, and gently roll it over your right thigh, allowing your hip to raise from the bed. Make sure both of your shoulders stay in contact with the bed at all times. If it feels comfortable, stretch your left arm out to the side, keeping your hand in line with your shoulders, and slowly turn your head to face your left arm. You should feel the stretch on the sides of your upper body and your lower back. Breathe deeply and repeat on the opposite side. Again, if your mattress is very soft rather transition to a mat or towel on the floor to ensure your spine and shoulders are well supported throughout the stretch.
Upper back and neck stretch
Sit on the edge of your bed, with your feet flat on the floor. Interlock your fingers and reach forward, bending from your middle back. Stretch with your hands forward at shoulder level. You should feel the stretch between your shoulder blades.
Once you are done with the upper back stretch, relax your shoulders and gently move your left ear towards your left shoulder, using your left arm to help. Only stretch as far as feels comfortable. Hold for 15-20 seconds and slowly repeat on the other side.
Stand with your feet hip-width apart and clasp your hands above your head. Gently lean your body to one side, feeling a deep stretch along the side of your body. Hold for 10-15 seconds and repeat on the other side.
Once you’re done with the side stretch, relax your shoulder blades back and down, and reach one arm across your body and stretch your shoulder. Gently use your other arm to deepen the stretch. Hold for 15-20 seconds and repeat on the other side.
Standing quad stretch
Stand up straight and hold onto the wall or a chair if you need to. Keep your feet hip-width apart. Reach back and grab your left foot with your left hand. Keep your thighs lined up next to each other and your left leg in line with your hip. Feel the stretch in your left thigh and hips. Repeat with your right leg.
Stand upright and gently bend one knee as if you’re going into a sitting position. Place the opposite leg outright, pointing your toes towards the ceiling. Bend forward from your hips to feel a nice stretch along the back of your outstretched leg. Hold for 10-15 seconds and then repeat with your other leg.
Placing your hands on a wall for support, step back on one leg and gently push your heel towards the ground, feeling a nice stretch along the back of your calf. Hold for 10-15 seconds and repeat on your opposite leg.
Remember to listen to your body each day and take each stretch at your own pace. If you are very active, you might not be very flexible at first, but not to worry, just stretch as far as you can without any pain. With regular practice your body should become more relaxed and each day you’ll be able to reach that little bit further. If you notice any sharp or shooting pain, ease off completely. If you have an injury, speak to your physiotherapist first, and ask if they can recommend a stretching routine that’s tailored to your body’s needs.