We’ve all felt the discomfort of waking up feeling stiff. These quick morning stretches will get out all your kinks, so you feel refreshed and ready to start your day!
If you slept in an awkward position, chances are you’ll feel achy before your day even starts. Even if you slept normally on your belly, back, or your side, it’s easy for your neck, hip flexors, calves, or even your ankles to become tight.
These are also the muscles that are at risk of feeling sore from everyday activities, like sitting at a desk job or driving a car, which can further exacerbate the pain from our sleeping positions! For example: When we sleep on our backs with a pillow under our heads, the cervical and upper thoracic spine get rounded forward and the front of the ankles go lax, which leads to imbalances that further perpetuate a hunched-forward posture.
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It is essential to reverse these imbalances so that you can maintain good joint mobility, and prevent injuries like throwing your back out or pulling a muscle as you go through your day.
These five morning stretches will help to reverse the damage done overnight, so that you can wake up feeling physically balanced, mentally refreshed, and ready for whatever your day has in store for you.
Hip Hinge | 5 reps
This gentle exercise alleviates lower back, hamstrings, and calf tightness while also activating the core muscles for the day.
- Stand with your feet hip-width distance apart. Rest your palms on your thighs and engage your abs.
- Tilt your pelvis forward and slightly arch your lower back. Keep this shape so that you have a flat lower back as you hinge at the hips. Slide your fingers down your thighs, stopping before you need to round your lower back to continue.
- Keep your back straight and exhale to stand back up. Repeat for 5 reps, try to get a little lower with each rep.
Squat with Wrist Stretch | 30 sec
This two-in-one stretch opens up the forearms, hips, lower back, inner thighs, and calves.
- Stand with your toes pointing out at 45 degrees. Hinge at your hips and then bend your knees until you can place your palms on the ground with your fingers pointing towards your body.
- Keep your shoulder blades drawing back together and press into your palms to feel a release in your forearms. Gently press open your thighs with your arms, using your thigh muscles to simultaneously squeeze back. You should also feel an opening through the hips and lower back.
- Hold for 30 seconds, then press through your heels to stand back up.
Exalted Twist | 30 sec per side
Release tightness in your hip flexors, chest, and shoulders with this stretch.
- Start in a high plank position. Step your right foot between your hands to come into a lunge. Tap your back knee to the ground and then reach your arms up overhead. Engage your abs and scoop your tailbone slightly down.
- Twist to the right, bringing your right hand onto the back of your left thigh. Reach your left arm up and back so that you come into a gentle backbend. You should feel a stretch through the left hip flexors, ribs, chest, and shoulders.
- Hold for 30 seconds, then switch sides.
Shoulder Pigeon | 30 sec per side
Side and belly sleeping cause chest and shoulder tightness, and pretty much any sleep position can cause neck tension. This stretch opens everything back up.
- Lie on your belly with your forehead resting on the floor. Extend your right arm out to the side so that your wrist is in line with your shoulder, palm facing down.
- Place your left palm under your left shoulder and press down to roll onto your right shoulder. Bend your left knee and step the foot to the outside of your right thigh.
- If the right side of your head lifts off the ground, slide a pillow or yoga block underneath it to support your neck.
- Hold for 30 seconds, then roll back to your belly and switch sides.
Puppy Pose | 30 sec
Release morning shoulder and chest tightness with this stretch.
- Start on your hands and knees in a tabletop position.
- Keep your hips stacked over your knees as you walk your hands all the way forward, lowering your forehead to the ground. Your arms should be straight.
- Hold for 30 seconds. As you inhale, think about breathing into the ribs to expand them. As you exhale, let your chest melt towards the ground.
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