It’s an all-too-common feeling: waking up sore, stiff and groggy. This pain can linger throughout the day, leaving you unrested and in pain. While causes can vary, a morning routine of gentle, purposeful stretches intended to wake and warm your joints and muscles can help reduce those feelings of soreness, stiffness, and grogginess.
At Tannenbaum Chiropractic in Beverly Hills, we cannot stress enough the importance of starting your day off right. For optimal movement hygiene, our team lists an easy and effective morning routine to wake and energize your mind and body.
The Benefits of Stretching in the Morning
Gently waking up your body by warming your muscles and joints with a morning routine can not only help relieve stiffness and soreness, but also boasts a number of other benefits:
- Better posture
- Prevention of “tech neck”
- Emotional de-stressing
- Increase blood flow
- Correction of poor sleeping posture
- Ability to limit (or even skip!) your morning coffee
- Reduction of lower back pain
- Increased self-confidence
- Support of normal joint movement and mobility
- Reduction of potential injuries caused by stiff joints and muscles
- Increased overall flexibility
- Energized mind and body
Your Warming Morning Stretching Routine
Depending on your daily routine, work habits or poor sleep hygiene, you may find it necessary to repeat a stretching routine a few times throughout the day. Starting when you first wake up helps to set a mindful precedent that will help you stay conscious of your posture and movements.
This warming morning routine consists of just a few simple exercises that are easy for anyone to perform, and does not require any special equipment. Best of all, it only takes a few minutes!
- Upper Back Stretch: Stand tall with both feet flat on the ground hip-width apart and arms at your sides. Stretching your arms out wide, inhale and slowly lift your arms up until your hands meet above your head, engaging your upper back by setting your shoulders slightly back. If you can, interlock your fingers and flip your hands towards the sky to engage in a deep upper body stretch. Take a deep breath, then carefully release your fingers and bring your hands back down to your sides. Repeat this 3 times.
- Side Stretch: In the same mindful standing position, raise your arms back up. Grip your left wrist with your right hand and lean to the right, using your grip to gently deepen the stretch for a few seconds. Repeat on the other side. (This stretch can also be done sitting, and feels great repeated throughout the day, especially during breaks from screen use).
- Forward Fold: Standing with your feet together, reach your arms over your head as high as you can to feel a full spinal stretch, then fold over to touch your knees, shins, or feet (as far as you can, but don’t push it!). Try and maintain integrity with the spine, elongating your neck and focusing on an up-and-over movement rather than just bending over. Hold this for 15-20 seconds. Repeat once more, trying to reach a little further while taking even deeper breaths. Add a short calf stretch with each leg for a bonus leg wake-up after this one!
- Neck Stretch: You can do this standing or sitting with your feet flat on the ground. Relax your shoulders and gently move your right ear to your right shoulder. Use your right arm to wrap over your head, your hand over your left ear, and very gently guide a deeper stretch (it is very important to do this stretch slowly and gently and only stretch as far as you feel comfortable!) Hold for 10-15 seconds. Repeat on the other side.
While Sitting / Laying:
- W-Shape: This is an especially helpful move for those with sore necks caused by tech neck, which contributes to painful forward leaning posture. Sitting up straight on a chair or your bed with your feet firmly on the floor, raise your hands straight in front of you (think: zombie-walk pose). Then, use your elbows to draw your arms back and your shoulder blades together to create a W-shape. Focus on your shoulder blades, as if you are trying to hold a pencil together, and hold for 10 seconds. Make sure to keep your neck relaxed. Repeat at least 3 times, but try and work up to 8-10 repetitions.
- Pigeon Pose: This one is tricky, but will target all of the leg muscles at once, now that your spine and upper body have warmed. Start on all fours in a tabletop pose (hands squared under your shoulders, and knees under your hips) and slowly slide your right knee to your left wrist. Then, continue that movement with your ankle to bring your lower right leg out into nearly a right angle. Draw your left leg back as far as you can while keeping straight as you then start to lower your buttocks to the floor (it’s OK if you don’t!). Keep your hands flat and open up the chest by drawing your shoulders down and your chin up. You should feel a deep stretch in the back of your right leg, the top of your left thigh, your hip flexors, buttocks, and chest. Hold this for about 10-20 seconds (start small then work up to it) breathing deep. Repeat on other side.
- Supine Twist: Laying flat on your back on a carpet, yoga mat, blanket, or even thick towel, bring your knees to your chest and grasp them with your hands to wake up the lower back. Release, then repeat with only one leg. Use your hand now to guide your knee across your body touch the opposite side of the floor (or however far you can twist). Keep your other arm out with your hand flat on the floor, and tilt your neck to look at that hand. You should feel a full, but gentle twist in your spine as well as a stretch in your outer thigh and neck. Hold for 10-15 seconds and then repeat on the other side.
If time allows, end your stretching routine in a comfortable seated position of your choice, sitting up tall with your head over heart and shoulders relaxed, and take a few deep, mindful breaths into your upper back. This will help to remind your body to keep your spine aligned and your body strong and energized throughout the day.
Do you need more attention to aching joints and stiff muscles? We can help you feel energized all day long – call Tannenbaum Chiropractic today!