Say “good morning, world!” with these exercises

Nothing wakes you up quite like the sound of your bones and muscles popping

If you’re a night owl like me, you probably won’t be waking up as soon as the sun rises to begin your workout routine. But that doesn’t mean you can’t start your day with a few simple stretches to get your blood pumping. 

Stretching as soon as you wake up is a perfect way to start the day because it helps power up your mind and body, relieves stiffness and pain that an awkward sleeping position might have induced and gets you ready for the day’s work. If you haven’t had time to create a morning stretch routine, we’ve listed down exercises you can try once you wake up tomorrow. 

The best thing about this set of exercises? There’s no need to set an alarm just so you can catch the morning’s yoga class.

Cobra stretch

How you do it: Lie on your stomach and place your hands flat against the mat. Slowly lift your chest up and straighten your arms to help push your torso up. Roll your shoulders back and let your head fall back so you’re looking at the ceiling. 

This is great for stretching the muscles in your abs, shoulders and chest. It helps decrease the stiffness in your lower back. A variation of this stretch that increases flexibility and is often done by ballerinas and gymnasts is leaning even further back and letting the tip of their toes touch their head—just something to keep in mind if you want to challenge yourself every morning.

Neck and shoulder rolls

How you do it: Slowly roll your neck in one direction, making sure to look skyward when your head is fully leaned backward and then down to the ground when your head is bowed down. For shoulder rolls, make sure that your arms are hanging loose at your sides before you shrug them up to your ears then slowly lower back down. 

If you’ve ever slept in an uncomfortable position, you know how good these stretches feel once you wake up. Both of them help in slowly correcting your posture, especially if you’re the type to stoop when working or eating. Doing these rolls also decreases your chances of stiff arms and a stiff neck.

Butterfly stretch

How you do it: Sit on the ground and create a diamond shape with your legs, making sure that the soles of your feet are pressed against each other. Hold your feet together using your hands and deepen the stretch by leaning towards your feet, keeping your back straight as you hold the pose. 

This is another great stretch for improving flexibility and relieving tension from your lower back and thighs. Runners and cyclists often do this exercise to loosen the joints in their hips, thighs and knees, but it’s also a great way to stretch after sitting for long periods.

Overhead reach

How you do it: Stand with your feet hip-width apart, interlace your hands and stretch your arms up until your palms are facing the ceiling. Make sure to reach as high as you can in order to stretch your arms and your upper back. You should feel some tension in between your shoulder blades when doing this. 

You’ve probably already done this stretch every morning without even realizing it. It’s best to do it standing up, just so you can control your balance, but if you prefer doing it right after waking up, make sure to sit on the edge of your bed with your feet flat on the floor and with your back straight.

Forward fold

How you do it: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, bend your knees and slowly bend downward. When bending, head should point toward the ground as well. You can bend your arms to clasp your elbows or you can reach back and hug your legs. Hold this pose for a few moments before standing up. 

This is undoubtedly one of the most difficult stretches on this list, but it accomplishes a lot. In one move, it can loosen your hamstrings, stretch your back and help to increase the mobility of your spine. To challenge yourself, try to fold forward without bending your knees, similar to toe touches, but endure it and hold the pose for at least five seconds.

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