by Blake Herzog
Adding morning stretches to your self-care routine has numerous benefits. They protect your muscles, improve posture and combat any stiffness that may have developed overnight. Stretching stimulates your brain and increases blood flow. Each stretch also targets and refreshes specific muscle groups.
Here are five stretches to try shortly after waking up:
- Overhead Shoulder Stretch Flexes Shoulders and Rotator Cuff
Lace fingers together
Raise hands above head, palms upward
Lift up, stretching rib cage
Hold for a count of 10
Repeat 4 more times.
- Side Stretches Expand Rib Capacity
Sit cross-legged on the floor, arms down by the sides, hands on the floor.
Lengthen back and neck through the crown of the head.
Reach the right arm up, bend the left elbow and reach the right arm up and over toward the left side.
Repeat to the other side, doing 3-5 stretches on each side.
- Prone Press-up Protects Back
Lie on stomach with hands in a push-up position.
Relax back and hips, and slowly press upper body up, allowing back to arch.
Hold this position for 2 seconds, then release.
Repeat 9 more times.
- Neck Mobility Stretch Prevents Pain
Take a seated position with feet on the floor.
Rotate neck in a circle, touching ears to shoulders.
Rotate slowly in a clockwise direction 5 times.
Rotate slowly in a counterclockwise direction 5 times.
- Standing Quad Stretch Loosens Leg Muscles
Stand up straight, holding onto the wall or a chair, as needed. Keep feet hip-width apart.
Reach back and grab left foot with left hand.
Keep thighs lined up next to each other and left leg in line with hip. Feel the stretch in left thigh and hips, holding for 30 seconds once.
Repeat with right leg, holding for 30 seconds once.