Start Your Day with These Stretches to Relieve Tension in the Morning

Photo by Scott Broome on Unsplash

While individual needs and preferences will certainly vary, in general, morning is regarded as the best time of day for exercise. Working out upon waking has been shown to increase metabolism and provide a boost of energy that can have a positive impact on the entire rest of your day. Stretching, in particular, can also improve circulation and loosen stiff joints caused by lack of movement throughout the night. If you tend to wake up feeling tight, read on for some simple, yet effective stretches to help you start your day on the right foot.

Cat-Cow Stretches

Waking up with a stiff back is a common occurrence that can be a real pain in the… well, you know. Cat-cow stretches are an excellent way to release tension and wake up your spine. On a cushion or yoga mat, stand on all fours with your wrists under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Inhale and begin to slowly arch your back, lifting your tailbone and chin. Exhale as you round your spine, tucking your chin and tailbone like a cat. Continue to flow between the poses for 5 cycles, syncing your breath with each movement.

Standing Forward Fold

To relieve a tightness in the lower back and hamstrings, stand on your mat with your feet hip-width apart. Breathe in, then slowly begin to fold forward at your hips as you exhale. Continue until you feel a mild to moderate stretching sensation in the backs of your legs, bending your knees slightly if needed. Place your hands on the floor or grab opposite elbows and relax into the stretch. Hold for 3 deep breaths, then slowly roll up to standing.

Child’s Pose

Child’s pose is another effective way to ease discomfort in the lower back, hips, and shoulders for those who prefer a gentler stretch. Using a yoga mat or folded blanket for support, kneel with your big toes touching and knees spread apart. Sit back on your heels, then reach your arms forward and lower your chest to the ground. Rest your forehead on the floor and breathe deeply, holding for 10-15 breaths.