Feeling a little stiff as you get out of bed in the morning? Looking for a reason to spend just 5 more minutes in the warmth of your sleep cocoon before you begin your day?
Regardless of your reason, stretching before you get up releases the body's 'feel good' chemicals, can help lubricate your joints and maintain your range of motion, and may also prevent falls.1
Follow the instructions below to try a stretch routine you will be sure to say is a great way to start your day.
It is generally recommended that you warm up before you stretch to get your blood flowing and make your muscles more pliable. Thankfully, you should already be on the warmer side from being tucked into your bed all night, so it won't take much to warm up!
Follow these two steps to prep yourself for a good stretch:1
- While you’re still lying down, flex your lower limbs: put your knees and feet in the air; with your knees in the air, raise and lower your feet; roll your ankles and move them back and forth.
- Next, sit up in bed. Slowly look left and then right. Roll your shoulders a few times; work your elbows by holding both arms in front of you and doing biceps curls; flex your wrists up and down; open and close your hands several times.
Aim to hold each of these five stretches for 60-90 seconds, and try not to bounce, which can cause damage to the muscle tissue.1
- Full Body Stretch - Start laying flat on your back. Reach your arms up over your head, palms facing up and fingers intertwined. At the same time, point your toes and stretch the entire length of your body by reaching your hands up and your feet down towards the end of your bed.2
- Knees-To-Chest Stretch - From a flat position, pull your knees up towards your chest and hold, being sure to continue breathing regularly. It is a simple movement that will help stretch your lower back.
- Supine Twist - Moving straight from your Knees-To-Chest stretch, gently release your knees to one side, turning your head in the opposite direction if it is comfortable to do so. Hold, and then bring your knees back to center before releasing once again to the opposite side.
- Seated Forward Bend - Sit yourself up with your legs stretched out in front of you. Give your feet and toes a little wiggle, then reach forward. Bend only as far as is comfortable for you, placing your hands around your heels, on your shins, or knees.
- Spinal Reach - While you're still seated, bring yourself into a cross-legged position or any other seated position that is comfortable for you. Keeping your spine straight, reach your arms up overhead, again with your fingers intertwined like they were for your first full body stretch. With your arms outstretched, gently bend to one side, hold for a moment, and then switch to the opposite side.
Footnotes and Sources
1. Health.harvard.edu, April 2020
2. Meghanlivingstone.com, August 23, 2018