Here are seven more morning stretches to help you get the day started right from Arrow Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation in Somerville
Last spring, we explained how stretching in the morning after you wake up could be the key to getting the day started with your best foot forward. Though some people have barely enough energy to make it to the kitchen to fix themselves their first cup of coffee, adding just 5-10 minutes of stretching either before—or even after—you get your caffeine jolt can make a major difference in how the rest of your day goes.
There’s a natural tendency to stretch out tight joints upon waking from a night’s sleep, but taking it a step further with a short stretching routine will do more than just loosen you up. The obvious benefits of stretching that you’ll notice are that it relieves muscle tension and improves flexibility and range of motion. In addition, though, stretching can help ease away any stress or mental tension built up from the previous day or after spending the night in a funky sleeping position.
Stretching will also improve circulation, increase your body awareness and give you energy by helping to release endorphins, the “feel-good” hormones. If done on a regular basis for a long enough period of time, stretching can even build strength and improve your posture in a similar way that training accomplishes this.
You should try out a variety of stretches and figure out which ones feel best for you, and then make your own stretching routine around those. The key is to hold each stretch for 10-30 seconds and perform at least three repetitions of each, and to get in at least 5—but preferably 10—minutes of stretching a day. This month we bring you 7 more sample stretches to integrate into your daily routine:
- 1) Upward stretch: Interlace your fingers, raise hands above the head with palms facing upward, elongate spine to feel stretch in ribcage and arms
- 2) Pecs flex: As you lift your hands as high as possible, squeeze your shoulder blades together and open your chest
- 3) The hippie: Pretend your head is extremely heavy and let it pull you down; bend one knee and hold for 15 seconds, then change legs
- 4) Calf stretch: Stand shoulder-length apart, put hands on wall or chair; keep heels on ground and knees straight while leaning into wall or chair
- 5) Upper back release: Stand with feet hip-distance apart, clasp hands and round upper back, keeping arms straight and active; hold for 3 deep breaths
- 6) Runner’s stretch: Sit with one foot tucked and other facing forward; lean forward, extend arm and attempt to grab foot or feel hamstring stretch
- 7) The leaning tower: try to elongate body by creating the greatest amount of distance possible between your left pinkie and your left heel; hold for 15 seconds, then switch sides
Try to deepen every stretch with each breath, and stop if you feel any strain or pain. If you need more assistance or additional stretches, visit Arrow Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation in Somerville, Union, Edison or Woodbridge, NJ. Call us at 908-393-9877 for more information or to schedule an appointment.