If you are an athlete or enjoy working out, you probably know that stretching before and after a workout is just as important as your workout itself. And if you did not know that, now you do! However, stretching is not only necessary or suitable for you when you’re getting ready to work out. Starting your morning off with a good stretch has been proven to help you have a productive day!
THE BENEFITS OF STRETCHING IN THE MORNING
There are numerous benefits to stretching in the morning, both mentally and physically. Trying is a great way to get your body and mind prepared for your day ahead. Science has found that stretching stimulates receptors in the nervous system that slow down the production of stress hormones and also help to reduce anxiety. I don’t know about you, but stress and anxiety-free days are enough to make me wake up a little earlier and stretch! Stretching regularly also increases flexibility and decreases joint stiffness, especially after any tightness that formed over the previous night’s sleep. Would you believe me if I said you could even do your morning stretches without having to leave your bed? Yes, you read that right. Now let’s get into it!
MORNING STRETCH EXAMPLES
You'll want to start with minimal movements. Circle your ankles and wrists, roll your head back and forth, and wiggle your fingers and toes. You want to slowly bring movement to your body before rushing into any more prominent movements.
Next, you can move into a child's pose. This pose is used in yoga as a resting position designed to relax the body and mind. To begin a child's pose, you will want to come to your hands and knees. Next, spread your knees about hip-width apart and keep the tops of your feet on the bed with your big toes touching. Exhale and lay your torso down between your thighs.
Reach your arms far out in front of you, keeping your palms facing down. Relax your shoulders, jaw, and eyes while taking long inhales and exhales for as long as you'd like.
From your child's pose, you can transition into a cobra pose. To begin the cobra pose, you will want to be lying completely flat on your stomach with your head slightly lifted, and your legs stretched back behind you. Your hands should be positioned flat and directly under your shoulders. Your feet will stay with the tops of them on your bed. When you exhale, press your hands down and lift your upper body and hips off the bed. Inhale and exhale.
Knees to chest stretch
For this next stretch, you will begin on your back. Your legs can be straight or bent. Slowly bring one knee into your hands and pull your knee towards your chest. Hold for 30-60 seconds, then slowly release and repeat with the other leg. Complete two reps on each side.
Spinal twist stretch
This stretch will also begin with you lying on your back with your legs flat. Bend one knee and cross it over the other, flat, leg causing a twist in your hips and spine. Sometimes it helps to hold your knee down for a more substantial stretch. Hold for 30-60 seconds and repeat on the other side. Complete two reps on each side.
This final stretch will also begin on your back. If you have a resistance band or towel handy, you may find it helpful to use, but that is okay if you don't have either! While on your back, have your knees bent. Slowly bring one knee to your chest and then begin to extend that same leg straight up. Use your resistance band, towel, or hands to pull your leg closer to your face. Hold for 30-60 seconds, then release. Repeat with your other leg. Complete two reps on each side. Complete two agents on each side.
HAVE A PRODUCTIVE DAY
That didn’t take long at all, huh? Now that you’re all stretched out, you’re ready to have a productive day! It is best to practice your morning stretching routine every day for long-term results. For extra help, you can even use the EZPT App, which will track your form and offer live feedback to make sure you are getting the most out of your stretching. If you’re taking the time to move your body, you want to make sure you’re doing it the right way! You can find the EZPT App here.