Instead of hitting the snooze button in the morning, I take the extra 10 minutes to stretch. It's a great way to get the juices going in the morning and ease away any stress or tension from the previous day's activity or a funky sleeping position.
Since stretching before breaking a sweat is debatable, I keep my morning stretches simple - I don't even have to leave the bed to do them! Try this simple stretching sequence when you wake up tomorrow to get your blood flowing and your body primed for your day.
- Upward Stretch - It's a little cliche, but I always greet the morning by raising my arms - it's a great way to get the blood flowing and wake up the body. Lace your fingers together and raise your hands above your head, palms facing upward. Elongate your spine and feel the stretch in your ribcage and arms. Hold for a count of ten and then incorporate a sitting side stretch into the sequence to target your torso.
- Neck and Shoulder Stretch - I love doing neck and shoulder stretches in the morning as a way to ease tension that can happen while sleeping. To stretch the muscles on the right side of your neck, turn your left ear over to your left shoulder and hold for twenty seconds. Repeat on the other side to stretch out your left side. Relax for a moment and then roll your shoulders to the back, and then to the front. Then lift them right up to your ears, tensing the muscles, and allow them to drop completely. Repeat this entire sequence three times.
- Spinal Twist - A spinal twist is a great way to relieve stress in your lower back. Hold the pose for at least 30 seconds on each side and don't be alarmed if you hear some "cracks" in your spine when you twist your spine. Don't force anything here, just feel your spinal column wringing itself out after a good night's sleep.
- Lying Side Quad Stretch - Most people are used to stretching their quads while standing up, but it's also something you can do while lying down. To really maximize your quad stretch, squeeze your glute max while engaged in the stretch. Since quads are one of the most overworked muscles in the body, make sure to stretch 'em every day.
- Hamstring Stretch - I love the feeling of a good hamstring stretch, and when I stretch them in bed, you don't have to worry about falling over! Make sure that when you do this stretch your pelvis is square (keep your hips centered and flat). Think of this stretch as a way to wake up your legs, rather than helping you make it into the splits. Circle your ankles a few times in each direction, too.
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