What’s the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning? Grab your phone and hit snooze a couple of dozen times? Rush into the shower stressed about how late you already are? Well instead of staring at the ceiling for ten minutes trying to get your bearings, start off with a calm healthy focus that prepares you for the day to come.
I was once told that your entire day’s outlook can be altered by how you wake up in the morning. The suggestion to smile as soon as you wake up, find something positive or just ridiculous, and allow it to lift your spirits just a smidge, is actually very insightful and will make more of a difference than you think. But let’s go a step beyond that. Now that your brain is starting to function, let’s take care of your body too.
Stretching in the morning will get your blood flowing and metabolism working before you grab some coffee and toast while running out the door. The great thing is, that to begin you don’t even have to get out of bed!
Here’s a great stretching routine to try in place of yelling at your alarm clock.
- Rolling over onto your back, stretch out your legs. Then slowly bend one of your knees pulling your leg towards your chest (grab the leg behind the knee to pull) and hold for 30 seconds. Switch legs and repeat 3 times on each leg.
- Bringing both legs up, bent at a 90-degree angle, keeping your back flat on the bed, lower your legs to one side and hold for 30 seconds. Bring your legs over to your other side and repeat 3 times.
Notice, you haven’t even had to lift your head yet! You’re so clever.
- Now, gently sitting up, reach your arms forward toward your toes letting gravity do all the work, and hold for ten seconds, rest, and repeat twice more. Spread your legs into a “V” and repeat the same reaching motion forward and toward each leg.
- Shake out your legs and arms, and sit up straight on the edge of your bed. Leaving your arms down and relaxed, roll your shoulders slowly back ten times and then forward ten times.
- Raise your arms above your head and reach up. Interlock your fingers (keeping your shoulders relaxed) and stretch your straight arms above and slightly back. Protect your back by sitting up straight and engaging your abdomen while letting your arms and upper back feel the benefits of the stretch.
None of this movement should be intense or forced, go as far as your body is comfortable going. You know your limitations and are just waking up, not running a marathon. Be kind to yourself.
At this point your brain is going, your blood is flowing and things look brighter. You are ready to start your day.
Not only do you immediately feel better when you stretch in the morning, but you are also benefiting in the long term from just a few minutes of simple movement. Stretching improves your flexibility, circulation, balance, and posture while alleviating the stress you tend to carry daily. So why not put a little bounce in your step? You’ve only the world to gain.