Morning stretches

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Morning stretches that will help you spring out of bed instead of dragging yourself out…

Stretching in the morning is a great way to "wake" up your muscles, and get them ready for the day. Stretching loosens up your body while increasing blood flow to your muscles.  Incorporating morning stretches into your daily routine is a positive way to begin each day. Many people have sore, stiff muscles when they first awake, depending on their amount of activity (or inactivity) from the previous day. Stretching increases the circulation of blood and oxygen to the muscles, releases tension and improves flexibility.

The Stretches

Single Knee-To-Chest (lower back, hamstrings, glutes) Lying on your back with your legs straight, bend your left knee and place your hands below your kneecap. Pull your left knee into your chest until you feel a good stretch. Hold for 30 seconds and release. Do one to three reps, and then repeat with your right knee. (Eventually, you want to be able to touch your chest with your quadriceps muscles.)

Double Knee-To-Chest (lower back, hamstrings, glutes) Lying on your back, pull both knees to your chest and hold for 30 seconds. Relax and repeat one to three times. (Eventually, you want to be able to touch your chest with your quadriceps muscles.)

Full-Body Stretch (full body) To counter the movements of the single and double knee-to-chest stretches, lie flat on your back with your legs outstretched and raise your arms above your head. Breathing normally, try to pull your arms and legs in opposite directions to stretch your trunk. Alternately point and flex your toes to stretch your calves. Hold for 30 seconds. Do one to three times.

Press-Up (lower back, glutes, hip flexors) Lying on your stomach, place your hands parallel to your chest. Gently press against the mattress to lift your chest up, but keep your hips down. Bend your elbow so as not to overextend the stretch. Hold for five seconds and work up to 10 repetitions.

Upper-Trapezius Stretch (neck, trapezius, lats) Lying flat on your back, anchor your left arm beneath you to keep your left shoulder as flat as possible. Reach behind your head with your right hand and place your palm above your left ear. Gently tilt your head to the right; hold for 30 seconds. Do one to three reps and repeat on opposite side.

Hamstring Stretch (hamstrings, calves) Lying down, bend your left knee. Straightening your right leg, flex the toes. Wrap your hands around your right thigh and pull your leg toward your chest until you feel the stretch in your calves and hamstrings. (If flexibility isn't your strong suit, loop a towel around the arch of your right foot and hold both ends, pulling your leg toward your chest.) Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat on left side.