Health

The power of morning stretches for people of all ages 

Morning stretches offer several benefits. How often do you stretch your body when you wake up? Are you the “get out of bed and just get on with your day” kinda person? If only you knew how beneficial morning stretches were, you wouldn’t miss a single day of stretching. 

The Key takeaway 

Morning stretches are like a gentle wake-up call for your body. Everyone should take some time to stretch every morning, stretching offers benefits such as loosening up your muscles, increasing blood flow, and energizing you for the day. It’s a great way to start your day on the right foot. In this article, you’ll learn more about the benefits of morning stretches, types of morning stretches, tips on stretching effectively, and more. 

Overview 

A group of women performing their morning stretches

Morning stretches are a fantastic way to wake up your body and get ready for the day ahead. They help improve flexibility, increase blood flow, and reduce muscle tension. Some common morning stretches include neck stretches, shoulder rolls, side bends, and gentle twists.

 Benefits of morning stretches 

Morning stretches offer a range of benefits to kickstart your day. Common benefits of stretching in the morning include:

  • Increase in flexibility.
  • Improve blood circulation.
  • Help relieve muscle tension.
  • It boosts energy levels.
  • They enhance posture.
  •  Promotes relaxation.

Types of morning stretches you can do 

In the morning, you can try different types of stretches like the Pigeon Pose, Standing Quad Stretch, Camel Pose, Standing Forward Bend with Shoulder Opener, and Seated Spinal Twist. These morning stretches target various muscle groups and help wake up your body, and mind for the day ahead. 

Step-by-step instructions for different morning stretches

1. Reaching for the sky

Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart. Reach your arms up towards the sky, stretching your whole body. Then hold this position for 15-30 seconds, feeling the stretch in your arms, back, and torso.

2. Touching your toes

For this stretch exercise, stand with your feet hip-width apart, then slowly bend at the waist, reaching your hands towards your toes. However, if you can’t touch your toes, that’s okay; just go as far as you can while keeping your back straight. And hold for 15-30 seconds.

3. Shoulder rolls

You’re going to stand or sit up straight. Roll your shoulders forward in a circular motion 5-10 times, then switch, and roll them backward. This helps release tension in your shoulders, and upper back.

4. Side bends

With this one, you will stand with your feet hip-width apart. And raise one arm, and over your head, bending your torso to the side. Then you hold for 15-30 seconds and feel the stretch along your side. Additionally, just repeat on the other side.

5. Gentle twists

Sit or stand up straight. Gently twist your upper body to one side, using your opposite hand to hold the stretch. Hold this position for 15-30 seconds, then twist to the other side.

Side note: In addition, remember to breathe deeply, and listen to your body. Also, just do them slowly, and gradually increase the intensity of the stretches as you feel more comfortable. 

How to perform more advanced morning stretches 

If you’re looking to level up your morning stretches, here are some more advanced stretches you can try:

1. Pigeon pose

Start in a plank position, bring one knee forward towards your hands, and lower your body onto the front leg while extending the back leg straight behind you. It is great for opening up the hips and stretching your glutes.

2. Standing quad stretch

Stand tall, grab one foot behind you with the hand on the same side, and gently pull your foot towards your glutes. This stretch exercise targets your quadriceps and hip flexors.

3. Camel pose

Kneel on a floor, preferably one in your home, and bring your hands to your lower back, and arch your back, gently pushing your hips forward. By doing this stretch exercise, you’ll open up your chest, shoulders, and abdomen.

4. Standing forward bend with shoulder opener

From a standing position, fold forward and clasp your hands behind your back, lifting them towards the sky. It’s a stretch exercise that combines a forward bend with a shoulder opener.

5. Seated spinal twist

Now, you’re going to sit on the floor with one leg crossed over the other, twist your torso towards the bent knee, placing the opposite elbow on the outside of the knee. This one helps improve spinal mobility and twists the torso.

You have to keep in mind that these are more advanced morning stretches, and you must warm up before attempting these morning stretches. In addition, always listen to your body to avoid overstretching.

How long should morning stretches be?

They don’t have to take too long. Morning stretches should ideally be around 10-15 minutes long. This duration allows you to effectively warm up your muscles, increase flexibility, and reap the benefits of stretching. It also helps you start the day feeling energized and refreshed.

Try these stretch exercises if you’re suffering from lower back pain

There are specific stretches that can target lower back pain, and help alleviate discomfort. Two effective stretches for the lower back are the Cat-cow stretch and the Child’s pose. Here’s a guide on how you can safely do them:

1. Cat-cow stretch

Start on your hands and knees, with your hands directly under your shoulders, and your knees under your hips. Inhale as you arch your back, lifting your head, and tailbone towards the ceiling. Exhale as you round your back, tucking your chin to your chest and tailbone under. Repeat this movement, and make sure you flow smoothly between the two poses. This stretch helps to mobilize, and stretch the spine, to relieve tension in the lower back.

2. Child’s pose

Begin on your hands and knees, then sit back on your heels while reaching your arms forward on the floor. Lower your chest towards the mat and rest your forehead on the ground. This pose gently stretches the lower back, hips, and thighs, providing relief for lower back pain.

Incorporating these morning stretches into your routine can help ease lower back pain, and improve flexibility in that area. Additionally, always listen to your body, and stretch within a comfortable range of motion.

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FAQs

Can I combine morning stretches with yoga poses?

Yes, you can combine morning stretches with yoga poses. Yoga adds a variety of stretches and poses that can help improve your flexibility, strength, and overall well-being. Both are like a perfect fit. Adding yoga poses into your morning routine can enhance the benefits of your stretching, and provide a more relaxed body before starting your day.

Are there specific stretches for different muscle groups?

Yup, there are specific morning stretches that target different muscle groups in your body. For example, the Pigeon pose stretches the hip flexors and glutes, while the Standing quad stretch focuses on your quadriceps. Additionally, the Camel pose is excellent for opening up the chest, and shoulders. What’s more, you can tailor each stretch exercise to address specific muscle groups and areas of tightness in your body. That’s to say, that you can make them work for you!

How often should I perform morning stretches?

You can do morning stretches every day to help wake up your body, and improve flexibility. It’s a great way to start your day feeling refreshed and energized. However, it will always be important to listen to your body and adjust the intensity based on how you feel each day.

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