Fitness

8 Stretches To Start Your Morning Routine Off Right

You can even do some in bed.

A woman stretches in her bedroom in the morning. Morning stretching routines can help people get the...
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While a lot of people would be happy to continue that work from home life indefinitely, others might struggle with maintaining a sense of routine or calm before getting the day started. (Yes, even 10 months into the pandemic.) If you're going into work, too, there's no better time than the present to refresh what works to get you going in the morning. A simple morning stretching routine can help to combat the aches and pains of a 9-5 (or 10-6, or 5 to midnight) as well as getting your day started on the right foot.

“A great morning stretching routine is one that you can maintain consistency with, and there are many that you can do from the comfort of your own bed,” says Lindsay McClelland, an ERYT-200 certified yoga instructor in Charlotte, North Carolina. A stretching routine doesn't have to be a whole to-do, either. “Don't think about it being a full hour-long yoga class; instead carve out five to 10 minutes that you can do on a regular basis,” McClelland adds.

Read on for a few ideas for morning stretch routines that you can do before starting the coffee, getting a workout in, and getting your day started.

Gentle Neck Rolls

“Sometimes we sleep in awkward positions, compounded with the "tech neck" many of us are facing from constant Zoom meetings, which makes this exercise really important,” McClelland says. Tuck your chin into your chest and gently roll your neck from side to side for 30 seconds to one minute, or five or six times on each side.

Side Bends

Still sitting in a comfortable position, take some side bends. Reach one arm over to one side, plant your hand, then take the other arm overhead for a deep side bend. You can play with your neck position here too by gently rocking your chin to your shoulder and back.

Seated Twists

This movement can help get your digestive system going and bring some motion to your body, McClelland says. Just take your hand to the opposite knee or thigh and bring the other hand behind you for support. Spend a few breaths on each side.

Cat-Cow

Another great exercise for first thing in the morning is cat-cows, McClelland says. These can be done from all fours, or do these from a seat in bed by bringing hands to thighs or knees. Arch your back to look up as you breathe in, and then tuck your chin and hollow your body to push your spine behind you as you breathe out.

Press-Ups

Dr. Chad Walding, DPT, a physical therapist and co-founder of NativePath, a nutritional supplement brand, recommends press-ups to help relieve back pain caused by sitting too long and poor posture.

Lay face-down on a firm surface, legs fully extended, with the tops of your feet resting on the floor. Place your hands next to your shoulders, fingers pointing forward, and your elbows tight against your body. Completely relax your body – especially your lower back, glutes, and legs. With your hands directly under your shoulders, inhale deeply through your nose, and fully extend your arms as you gently press up as far as you can comfortably go. Keep the insides of your elbows facing inward towards your body. Hold for a few seconds. As you exhale through your mouth, try to find even more ease in your body. Remember to keep your back, glutes, and legs completely relaxed. Gently bend your elbows as you lower your chest to the floor. Repeat this stretch 10 times.

Dead Bugs

Dr. Walding also recommends “dead bugs” to help strengthen your core while teaching you how to stabilize your pelvis when moving.

Lay with a flat back on the ground and your arms and legs in a reverse tabletop. Gently stretch out your right arm directly behind your head and left leg straight out. Make sure your back remains flat on the ground and return your arm and leg back to neutral. Repeat on the other side for 10 reps on each side.

Box Breathing

Dr. Walding, who is also a YOGABODY coach, recommends the following “box breathing” three-minute routine to start your day with a sense of calmness: just inhale for five seconds, hold for five, exhale for five, and hold for another five. Repeat until you feel the calm throughout your entire body.

Forward Folds

Finish your morning routine off with a simple forward fold, either from a seat or standing, McClelland says. “Just take your time and be gentle with your body, as your hamstrings are likely to be tighter in the morning.”

Sources:

Lindsay McClelland, an ERYT-200 certified yoga instructor

Dr. Chad Walding, DPT, a physical therapist and co-founder of NativePath