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For the many people who spend much of the work day sitting and hunched over a computer screen, it is common to feel tension and tightness in the neck, back, or hips when they wake up in the morning – only to repeat the same routine again. But with the help of specific stretching exercises in the morning right after you wake up, you may be able to save yourself from some of these ailments.
It’s important to stretch as soon as you wake up because whether or not you have a desk job, the amount of time you sleep can cause muscle tension. “In the mornings, we often feel tense and tense because our bodies are stuck in the same position for hours while sleeping,” said Jeff Brannigan, program director at Stretch * d, a stretch-focused recreation studio based in New York City. “Try starting your day with some active stretches to lengthen the muscle and release tension by increasing blood flow to the area.”
“In the mornings, we often feel tense and cramped because our bodies are stuck in the same position for hours while sleeping.” —Jeff Brannigan, Stretching Expert
According to Brannigan, the benefits of certain morning stretches aren’t just physical. Rather, “stretching helps produce endorphins that lead to better relaxation and productivity,” he says. “If you’re feeling particularly stressed or burned out, a five- to ten-minute stretching routine can do wonders for your mental wellbeing.”
With that in mind, consider four quick stretches to add to your first morning routine that will lengthen muscles and improve blood circulation.
4 of the best morning stretches, right after you wake up
1. Maybe a neck stretch
According to Brannigan, this stretch targets the scalenus and sternocleidomastoid, the muscles on the back and side of your neck. “This stretch helps relieve pain in a very common area,” says Brannigan. “It also sets back and realigns the neck as the sternocleidomastoid helps pull the head forward when it is very tight.”
A desk job “will almost certainly cause pain in your neck, back, and hips over time,” says Brannigan. But regardless of how you spend your days, he adds, “There is so much repetitive stress going on [these areas] 24 hours a day ”so a“ maybe ”morning stretch can help loosen you up.
How it goes: With one hand above your head, move your ear down toward your shoulder. Hold the stretch for two seconds, then return to the neutral position, and repeat 10 times on each side.
2. Trap Tapp * r, a trapezius stretch
Stretching the trapezius, which is located in the lower neck and encompasses the upper back and shoulder area, “helps relieve pain while relaxing and reclining the shoulder,” says Brannigan. This is important because it “helps stabilize and move the shoulder blade”. [or shoulder blade]”Says Brannigan. If the trap muscle becomes tense or cramped, “it will severely restrict movement in that area.”
With this in mind, this stretch is said to relieve shoulder, back and neck pain. And as an added bonus, it’s supposed to support improved posture.
How it goes: Start with your right arm against your chest and place your right hand on your left shoulder. Then place your left hand under your elbow and gently slide your right hand over your left shoulder and down your back. Hold this stretch for two seconds, then return to neutral and repeat the exercise 10 times on each side.
3. Forward Reach * r, a spine stretch
To do this stretch, you’ll need a chair or stool, which Brannigan says is designed to “elongate the muscles throughout your back along your spine.” Since this stretch targets muscles that run along the spine, it’s great for reducing back pain and improving posture, he says.
How it goes: “Sit in a chair with your knees open and your feet flat on the floor. Straighten your spine, then lower your chin towards your chest. Extend your arms in front of you, then slowly drop to the floor and stretch your fingers as far as possible across the floor, away from you. Keep your chin pressed to your chest as you fall forward. “
4. Hello Hammies, a thigh stretch
With the help of a foot strap, this stretch will help take pressure off the knee and lower back, which is great for those who have poor hip mobility, lower back pain, hip pain, knee pain, and even sciatica, says Brannigan.
How it goes: “Lie face up on the floor and put a strap around one of your feet,” says Brannigan. “Lift your leg – keep it straight – with the strap as high as you can and help by pulling the other end of the strap towards your chest.”
How long should you stretch each morning?
“Each stretch should be held for two to three seconds before returning to the starting position,” says Brannigan, who suggests repeating each stretch ten to twelve times or five to ten minutes.
Since Brannigan says that stretching can do wonders for the body, he suggests thinking beyond the above stretches in case you feel inspired. “It can’t hurt to stretch a little bit of everything, [especially] if you slept poorly. ”Whether you slept in a poor position or were overly stressed, the above stretches (in addition to other restful movements that get your blood moving and lengthen muscles) can help relieve tension and relieve stress to give you a great start to your day.
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