The idea of getting out of bed in the morning will probably elicit as many different responses as the number of people you ask. To early morning risers, the thought of bounding out from under the covers at the crack of dawn, after a good night’s sleep, and going out for a run, is exciting and invigorating. To those who prefer to get up later and reluctantly leave the comfort of their bed, mornings may not seem so appealing. If you experience pain or stiffness in getting out of bed, the day just starts with challenges.
Morning stretches can often help get your body moving and limber up your joints and muscles.
Try this series of stretches before you even get out of bed, if your bed provides a supportive surface. As always, check with your doctor before starting any new exercise or stretching routine. None of these stretches should cause any pain, so stop if they hurt. Do the exercises slowly and gently, and don’t stiffen or jerk or yank or pull or push extra hard. Just take it easy.
- Start by placing your hands on your belly and taking 5 deep breaths, making sure that your belly rises with each inhalation and falls with each exhalation. Then do a stretch called the pelvic tilt. It helps stretch your low back. Lay on your back with your knees bent up and your feet flat on the bed. Push the small of your back down into the bed by slightly rolling your hip bones up toward your chest. This shouldn’t cause any pain. Hold this position for a count of 5 and repeat 10 times.
- Next, bring one knee to your chest while keeping the other leg flat on the bed. Push the straight leg down against the bed for a count of 5 seconds while you pull the other knee up 10 times. Switch sides and repeat. This stretch loosens your hips and back muscles.
- Next, slowly bring both knees to your chest and hold them with your arms for a count of 10 seconds. This should loosen up your spine and hips and feel good. It is important to bring your legs down one at a time to protect your back.
- Now, roll on your side and lay with your body in as straight a line as you can, so your top shoulder is in line with your top hip. Slowly roll your top hip forward a little and then, on exhalation, allow your top shoulder to roll back. Try not to push this motion, just work with the breath and relax back each time you exhale, to stretch your shoulders, ribs and back muscles.
- When you get out of bed you can do shoulder rolls. Just shrug both your shoulders up, then roll them back, then down and then forward in a circle. Repeat 5 times. Last, turn your neck 5 times to each direction (left, right, up, down and ear down sideways to one shoulder, then the other). These exercises are great to do in the shower while the hot water loosens your muscles.
- To stretch your legs, squat on the floor and sit on your heels. This is a great way to stretch the front of your thighs. Then move to the downward dog yoga position, which stretches the back of the thighs and calves. Do this position by moving from sitting on your heels to supporting yourself on your hands and knees, curling your toes under and lifting your buttocks up in the air, while at the same time pushing away from the floor with straight arms. Let your head rest down comfortably. You should feel a good stretch through the backs of your legs. To get more of a stretch in your calves, slowly let your heels stretch down to the floor. Hold for 10 seconds-20 seconds.
This is one of many different stretch routines you can do each morning.
Remember, starting the day with stretches loosens you up and gets you ready for the day. It also keeps your body flexible and cuts down on joint compression.