Stretching—The First Thing You Should Do Each Morning

Stretching—The First Thing You Should Do Each Morning

Time to rise and shine! You’ve perfected your bedtime routine but have you given any thought to what you should do after you wake up?

Your alarm goes off in the morning and what do you do? Hit the snooze and roll over, hoping to score a few more precious minutes of sleep? Drag your ass to the shower and let the water attempt to bring you to consciousness? Or maybe a few quick body-loosening stretches? No ... we doubt anyone's doing that first thing. But you should be.

Finding the motivation to get up from a good rest can be hard, but stretching can make it easier. By taking a quick 5 to 10 minutes at the start of your day to do basic stretches, you are not only waking your brain up but your body.

Basic Benefits of Stretching After Waking Up

Gets The Blood Flowing & Your Mind Stimulated

During sleep, your brain and muscles are at rest. In order to fully function, you need to get the blood flowing throughout your body and into your brain and stretching will help increase blood flow. Stretching first thing after waking up will encourage the body to perform better in everyday activities, including physical exercise. Plus, after lying down for a long period of time can take away any stiffness because it is elongating the muscles.

Improves Posture

By stretching right after you wake up, you are actually helping your muscles relax. Tense muscles are what lead to poor posture. By keeping up with regular stretching, you are relaxing and lengthening your muscles which keep your back in better shape and improves your overall body posture.

Prevents Back Pain & Other Injuries

In general, stretching is used to help protect your muscles from injury. After waking up, many of us tend to feel pain or discomfort that wasn’t there when we went to sleep and stretching can help relieve that pain. Back and neck pain tends to be the most common complaint. Stretching in the morning will relieve pain by reducing the tension on your spine or any other body stiffness you are experiencing.

Increases Overall Flexibility

Depending on what your daily routine consists of, be it sitting at a desk or getting in and out of a car all day, you may be negatively affecting your flexibility without realizing it. Stretching when you wake up from a long night’s sleep (similar to stretching after a long day at work) will reverse the wear and tear on your muscles, aiding in overall mobility and flexibility.

Provides Energy Throughout The Day

This might be the best benefit of stretching after waking up – you gain more energy and motivation! Movement stimulates the brain through increased blood flow, helping you wake up and better concentrate so you can go on to function efficiently throughout the day.

What Stretches Should You Do?

There are a variety of different stretches you can complete to help wake yourself up. Ideal stretches can consist of pelvic lifts, moving your knees from side to side, planks, and even yoga. When you are stretching, remember to take it slow and at a steady pace because your muscles are just waking up, so you don’t want to cause injury.

It only takes 5 to 10 minutes to complete a good stretch session after you wake up, so be sure to do it to help your body be the best it can be!

Best Tips for Maximizing Your Morning Stretching Routine

  • Key areas to stretch in the morning include your neck, upper back & lower back, glutes, hip flexors, front and back of your thighs, and calves.
  • Focus on being gentle with your body. You have been fairly still all night and your body needs to ease back into a state of motion. Don’t bounce or push the stretches to the point of being painful.
  • Breathe slowly and deeply into your belly, expanding your lungs to their full capacity.
  • Think happy, loving thoughts about yourself and others. Think about what excites you about the day to come instead of focusing on the negative.
  • Be consistent with your stretching routine. You’ll see more benefits from performing a short sequence each day than a longer sequence only once in a while.
  • Invite your significant other and/or your kids to join you in your stretching routine! Doing something positive together first thing is good for intimate and family relationships.
  • Drink a full glass of water immediately after your stretch. You lose a lot of water overnight while you sleep, and it’s important to replenish first thing in the morning. The importance of hydration can’t be overstated. Drink water first thing in the morning, and keep it up all day!

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