5 Minute Morning Stretch to Jump Start Your Day

January 21, 2021 4 min read

5 Minute Morning Stretch to Jump Start Your Day

Getting out of bed in the morning can be rough, especially when the dreadful alarm clock goes off. If you don't have the time (or energy) for an early morning workout before work, stretching is a great way to shake off the sluggish feeling and jump start your day. A simple stretching routine can go a long way to wake up your mind and body to get you energized for the day ahead. Go through each movement for 30 seconds and repeat the entire sequence for a second time for a total of five minutes. 

1. Child's Pose

This pose is a great way to relax, calm the brain, and relieve stress. If you've slept the wrong way or feel tight in the morning, this pose can ease lower back pain and create a nice stretch in the spine, hips, pelvis, and thighs. 

How to perform:
1. Kneel on the floor. Touch your big toes together and sit on your heels. Spread your knees about hip-width apart. Those with very tight hips can keep the knees and thighs together.
2. Exhale, and bow forward, draping your torso between your thighs. Your chest should rest between or on top of your thighs.
3. Allow your head to come to the floor and extend your arms, palms facing down. 
4. Rest here. Pay attention to any tension you feel- perhaps in your hips, shoulders, or neck. Take a deep breath and let that tension go.

2. Cat-Cow

These two poses done together will stretch and strengthen your spine. The cow stretch activates the tailbone, while the cat stretch releases the tension of the neck and back. This movement will also increase blood and spinal fluid circulation and gently massage the organs in the abdominal area. 

How to perform:
1. Start on all fours. The top of your feet should be flat, shoulders directly over your wrists, and hips directly over your knees. 
2. As you inhale, arch your back into a "U" shape keeping your shoulders rolled back and down.
3. Look slightly upward towards the ceiling. (This is Cow).
4. As you exhale, press your hands into the ground and round your back into a "n" shape. (This is Cat).
5. Continue moving, arching on your inhales and rounding on your exhales.

3. Bird-Dog Crunch

This is a simple core exercise with many benefits. It improves stability, balance, posture, and range of motion while strengthening your core, hips, and back muscles. It encourages a neutral spine, and relieves low back pain.

How to perform:
1.  Start on all fours. The top of your feet should be flat, shoulders directly over your wrists, and hips directly over your knees.
2. Extend your right arm forward, and left leg back while maintaining a flat back and keeping your hips parallel with the floor. Think about driving your foot toward the wall behind you. 
3. Squeeze your abs and draw your right elbow and left knee in to meet near the center of your body.
4. Reverse the movement and extend your left arm forward, and right leg back. Draw your left elbow and right knee in to meet near the center of your body.
5. Repeat movement and remember to keep the moving foot flexed throughout the exercise.

4. Downward Facing Dog

This total body movement is great in the morning as it is a mild inversion. It resets your nervous system, calms the brain, and energizes the body. This is a great pose to relieve back pain as well.

How to perform:
1. From all fours, push into your hands to raise your hips and straighten your arms and legs (like a mountain). You may want to inch your hands and feet slightly farther apart. Your heels do not need to touch the ground. This is a good place to bend your knees one at a time to gently open up the back of each leg.
2. As you exhale, press into your hands to roll your shoulders down and back into a push up position. Your body should be neutral here.
3. Repeat 

5. Standing Forward Bend

This movement helps you feel calmer by relieving stress, fatigue, and anxiety. The kidneys, liver, and digestion are stimulated as well. 

How to perform:
1. In a standing position, take a deep breath in while lifting your hands up and out above your head. 
2. As you exhale, fold at your hip joints keeping your torso long and lifted. Keep your legs straight. You may place your hands anywhere that is comfortable for you such as your thighs, shins, ankles, feet, or the floor depending on your level of flexibility. 
3. Keep your feet planted firmly with your hips over your heels. This is a great time to move your neck in circles, side to side, and up and down to relieve any tension in the neck. 
4. Repeat

Incorporating a quick and simple stretch into your morning routine is a great way to give yourself a little "me" time to prepare yourself for the rest of the day. You can even sip on your morning coffee in between each move! The whole point is to get your body moving and doing what feels right and comfortable to you. Plus, you'll be stimulating your organs, muscles, and brain while doing it.  


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