Some days it can be very difficult to get up and feel energized in the mornings. Taking a few moments in the morning to breathe and move your muscles can help you to ease yourself into your day. Stretching is an easy way to get your body moving first thing in the morning and is just one of the steps toward preventing injury. There are several important stretches that can help you start your day on the right foot.
Benefits of Regular Stretching
So why should you incorporate stretching into your daily routine? Some studies show that regular stretching can increase your flexibility, which in turn can reduce your risk for injuries, increase blood flow to muscles, and improve your ability to do different activities.
Stretching doesn’t just have to be done in the mornings. Stretching during your workday can prevent repetitive strain injuries and help keep your energy up.
10 Important Stretches to Start Your Day
Try incorporating some of the following important stretches into your morning routine. Each of the following poses should be held for 15 to 20 seconds. Always remember to breathe evenly through every stretch. Try not to push yourself to the point of pain, only go to a comfortable stretch!
This stretch is great for the hips and lower back. Begin on all fours with your knees below your hips and your big toes touching. Gently sit back onto your heels and allow your forehead to rest on the ground.
Lie flat on your stomach, then place your hands below your shoulders and slowly push your upper body off the ground, slightly arching your back. This yoga stretch opens up your lungs and stretches your neck and stomach muscles.
Cat-Cow is another stretch taken from yoga that can help stretch your back muscles. Start on all fours with your hands and knees below your shoulders and hips respectively. Slowly arch your belly downward and tilt your head toward the ceiling (this is “cow”). After a few seconds, round your upper back and tilt your head toward the floor (this is “cat”).
Lie on your back, raise one knee, and roll it across your body. Both shoulders should remain in contact with the floor. Make sure to repeat this stretch with the other leg. The Spinal Twist can help massage your organs and stretch your lower back.
This stretch strengthens the hips and legs. Begin by lying on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Gently lift your hips by pressing through your heels.
Upper Back Stretch
From a seated position, interlock your fingers and lift your arms above your head. You should feel the stretch in your back and arms.
Gently pull your head toward one shoulder. After a few seconds, slowly roll your head to the other side and repeat!
Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart. Then, bend at your hips allowing your upper body to hang down. Try to touch your toes from this position! This is a great way to stretch your hamstrings and calves.
While standing, gently bend one knee and stick the other leg out with your foot flexed. Bend forward slightly and feel the stretch in your hamstrings.
Standing Quad Stretch
From a standing position, reach back and grab your left ankle with your left hand. You should feel the stretch in your thighs and hips. Repeat with your right leg.
If you have an injury, consult your doctor or physical therapist before starting any new stretches.
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