If you’re not a morning person, waking up and getting moving can sometimes feel like an insurmountable task. Whether you’ve been exercising a lot or you’ve been sick, there can be days when it’s just too difficult to jump out of bed to tackle the many items on your to-do list. Morning fatigue is normal, and there are a variety of ways to cope with its effects. Rather than reaching for that large cup of coffee, a natural and possibly healthier way is to ease into some stretches. You’ll wake your body up gently and gradually so you’ll be steadily energized throughout the day–and you’ll avoid that afternoon crash from caffeine. Here are 7 early morning stretches you to need to do to feel fresh, limber, and energized.
Reclining Spinal Twist
One way to release tensions from the previous day and get rid of any discomfort from awkward sleeping positions is to try the reclining spinal twist in the morning. This stretch is a good way to release stress from the lower back. Hold this pose for 30 seconds on each side, and don’t be alarmed if you hear the occasional crack in your spine.
Lying Side Quad Stretch
Another excellent stretch to do when you wake up is the lying side quad stretch. As the name suggests, this involves lying on each side to effectively stretch your quadricep muscles on each leg. Quads can be some of the most overworked muscles in your body so getting a good stretch will preserve your mobility throughout the day.
The hamstring stretch is a simple move to release tension in much-used hamstrings to help you stay limber. This is a great way to wake up your legs, and circling your ankles in both directions is another way to really get the most from the stretch.
Child’s pose is a relaxing, easy stretch to help you transition from drowsiness to alertness. It’s great for gently stretching out parts that can be tight in the morning, like your hips, pelvis, thighs, and spine.
A stretch that’s a bit strangely named but very effective is the cat-cow stretch. These are two poses done together to increase the circulation of your spinal fluid, which will stretch your back and torso, and gently massage the organs in the abdominal area. You’ll release tension in your spine, back, arm, and abdominal muscles.
Downward Facing Dog
A stretch that will get your heart rate up, as well actively work your arms, shoulders, wrists, and core, while it stretches your hamstrings, spine, and calves, is the downward facing dog. This classic yoga move is great for the morning because it resets your nervous system, calms the brain, and energizes the body. If you have back problems that impact your sleep and leave you achy and tired, this pose is especially for you.
A variation of the downward facing dog is the one-legged dog, but this one opens up your side body and your hips. It also quiets the mind while developing confidence. This pose stretches the side body, hamstrings, and hip flexors while strengthening your arms.