Do you wake up stiff? Don't suffer. Take 10 minutes to do these stretches for morning stiffness. Making this a habit will change your life.
1. Knee tuck
Before you even get out of bed, bring your knees to your chest. Give yourself a squeeze. Make it a loving hug. Gently rock from side to side, paying attention to the stiffer areas of your body. Make small circles, moving in the direction and way that feels best for you. Do You Yoga says this pose wakes up the hips and lower back.
2. Piriformis stretch
WedMD recommends this stretch to ease an arthritic back, hips and knees. Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the bed or floor. Cross your right ankle on top of the left knee. Wrap your hands behind your left knee, gently pulling the knee toward the chest. When you feel a stretch in the back of the right leg, hold for 30 seconds. Slowly relax the stretch and change sides, repeating with the left leg crossed on top of the right knee. Repeat two or three times on both sides.
3. Standing hip shift
To reduce pain in the lower back, Low Back Pain Program suggests the standing hip shift. Stand and raise your right foot to around mid-calf height. Drop your left hip. Contract and flex the unsupported hip for 10 seconds. Return your foot to the floor and repeat with the left foot raised and right hip dropped. If you are too stiff to do this exercise standing, shift your hips in bed. Over time, you will find your body becomes loose and flexible enough to graduate to a standing position.
Experience Life recommends this pose to get the blood moving, engage the nervous system and prevent morning injuries. Position yourself with hands and knees perpendicular to your shoulders and hips. Curve your lower back like a cow, moving your head upward. Hold for a full breath, and then slowly lower your head while simultaneously raising the upper back toward the ceiling like a cat. Repeat the two exercises 10 times, moving with each breath. If it is difficult to do this pose on the floor, try it sitting on a chair with your feet flat on the floor and hands on your knees.
5. Seated twist
Do You Yoga suggests this morning stretch for waking up the spine. You can perform this pose seated on the floor or in bed. Breathe in deeply and touch your right hand to your left knee, twisting the body as you exhale. As you inhale, move back to center. When exhaling, twist the opposite way. Do this several times until your back feels more flexible.
6. Trunk twist
Stand tall and hold your arms straight out to the sides at shoulder level. Twist your upper body from side to side, keeping your hips in place. This will work your abdominals while loosening the lower back, chest and shoulders, says TODAY.
7. Corner stretch
To do this stretch, stand 2 feet away from a corner or open doorway. Bend your elbows and place your hands against both walls. Gently lean into the open space to feel the stretch across the front of the shoulders and chest. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds. Slowly release and repeat two or three more times, says WebMD.
8. Shoulder stretch
This stretch for the shoulders, neck and entire upper body can be done standing, seated on the floor or in bed. TODAY says to bring the left arm across the body and to extend the right arm under the left. “Hook” the left arm into the right elbow by bending the right arm. Gently pull the left arm into your chest until you feel the stretch. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds, and then repeat with the opposite arm.
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