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Last Updated on January 20, 2021

17 Morning Stretches That Will Jumpstart Your Body and Mind

17 Morning Stretches That Will Jumpstart Your Body and Mind

Few people are likely to jump up with excitement once that alarm begins to sound. Somehow, the idea of starting a new day just doesn’t motivate you like it once did. That’s where morning stretches can help.

Coffee, a brisk walk, and fresh air are great for getting us going in the morning. Yet, what about the muscles and joints that help us function? What can we do to welcome all of the parts of our body into each day?

We have created a list of the best morning stretches for clearing your mind and charging your body. Which ones will you choose first?

What Type of Stretches Are Best in the Morning?

Gentle, dynamic stretches can be your best friend during a morning routine. Static stretches are best saved for when your body has generated a bit more flexibility for the activities of the day. So, what is the difference between dynamic and static stretching and why does it matter?

Dynamic stretches offer your body gentle, repetitive motion. This helps redistribute fluid, blood, and nutrients that may have succumbed to gravity’s command as you slept. On the other hand, static stretches are held longer and offer a more stationary position for each set of muscles. These also have their time and place.

However, the movement of dynamic stretches is far more beneficial as you seek to get your mind and body moving after rest.[1] Your brain and body are designed to regularly distribute fluid, nutrients, and oxygen. Dynamic movements help to make this happen evenly and more naturally.

Morning dynamic stretches are best completed with a slow and gentle motion. Jerky and abrupt movements (e.g. kickboxing and some powerlifting techniques) are best left for when your body has had a chance to redistribute valuable resources throughout the limbs.

Are you ready for some examples of what you should do for a great morning stretch routine? Here are morning stretches that you can rotate for a lively and interesting session every morning of the week!

To Get Your Day Started

1. Leg Hugs

Rest your feet flat on the floor or your bed. Bring both legs to your chest and give yourself a hug! Release both legs down to the floor. Bring only your right leg and hug it, and then your left leg.

Repeat all three steps 3 to 5 times. You don’t even have to get out of bed for this one!

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Reducing Chronic Knee Pain: 7 Quick Stretches to Do Daily » The Culture Supplier

    2. Lower Body Twist

    Facing your ceiling, raise your knees and place your feet flat and together. Swing your knees to the right and to the left of your body as far as is comfortable. Repeat 3 to 5 times.

    Kettlebell Leg Sway - Sworkit | At Home Workout and Fitness Plans

      3. Morning Cycle on the Floor

      Facing skyward, rest your body out flat. Place your hands on the floor to your sides. Raise your knees to your chest. Slowly rotate your slightly bent legs in a bicycle motion in the air. Reverse the motion and continue moving both legs in rotation.

      This is a great motion for helping to get the blood flowing without giving you a headache first thing in the morning. This one can also be done without getting out of bed! Enjoy this motion for 30 to 60 seconds.

      4. Ankle Movers

      Find a seated position in which your upper legs are somewhat parallel to the floor (the edge of the bed works well). Raise your knees up and down gently and slowly, as you keep your toes on the floor.

      Notice how your ankles are engaged with these morning stretches. Repeat 5 to 10 times.

      5. Fingers to Toes Body Lengthening

      Stand with your feet shoulder width apart from one another. Bring your right arm up over your head. Shift your weight onto your left leg as you stretch your fingers up diagonally over your left shoulder.

      Reach your right big toe to your right as you add your right leg to the stretch. With an even motion, switch sides 5 to 10 times.

      For balance, you may choose to hold onto a wall, chair, or counter with either has as may be comfortable for you.

      Stretching Exercises you Must Do Post Workout | Femina.in

         

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        6. Knee to Elbow Walking

        Choose a hallway or longer room in your home. As you walk from one side of the room to another, gently bring your right knee up to meet your right elbow. On the next step, do the left side. Do this 5 to 10 times on each side.

        7. Cross Body Knee to Elbow Walking

        Much like the stretch above, choose a space for walking. As you walk, cross your right knee to meet your left elbow. Do this five to ten times per side.

        8. Door Frame Grabber

        Raise your arms up high and grab the top of a door frame in your home. Do this with an even pace 5 to 10 times. Try to keep your arms even with one another as you raise them.Care to make it interesting? Travel from door to door and take a new perspective from each one as you raise those limbs. Not tall enough to reach the top of the door frame? The side frames of any doorway will also welcome you to stretch.

        9. Lung Openers

        Sit or stand to lengthen your spine in an upright manner. Bring your shoulder blades together as you draw in a full breath of fresh morning air through your nose. This is a great one for the porch, yard, or park! Slowly release your breath through your mouth, and do this 5 to 10 times.

        Alternately, you may choose to do this stretch 5 times at the beginning and 5 times at the end of your morning wake-up routine.

         

        10. Belly Wake-Up (Cobra)

        Rest your body in a prone position (face down). Place your elbows and palms flat on the floor by your upper torso. Push down into the floor with your hands and elbows, raising your torso (half cobra). Draw in a full breath as you go.

        Then, lower your shoulders as you let the air out through your mouth. Do this 3 to 5 times.

        For a challenge, try to straighten your arms (into full cobra). Be sure not to lock your elbows, and remember to use your breath to help you know how long to stay in each position. Moving and breathing together helps your body circulate oxygen and nutrients.

        Postura de la Cobra | Ciudad Yoga

          11. Core Wake-ups

          Begin with palms and knees shoulder length apart on the floor (table position). Raise your right arm and left leg simultaneously. Repeat on the other side. Continue by alternating each side slowly 5 to 10 times. Keep your face parallel with the floor. Try not to sway from side to side much as you move.

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          12. Forward Leg Swings

          This is one of those morning stretches that will really get your blood moving. Stand with your spine upright and your feet hip width apart. Hold onto a table, wall, tree, or door frame with your left hand. Gently swing your right leg in front of you and behind you 5 to 10 times, and then switch sides.

          13. Lateral Leg Swings

          Stand with your spine as upright as possible. Hold onto a tree or door frame with your left hand. Gently swing your right leg in front of your left leg and then to your far right 5 to 10 times, and switch sides.

          Be mindful of what may be next to you on either side. Kicking a table is no fun anytime of day, but it is certainly not the way most of us want to wake up our bodies!

          14. Toe, Arch, and Calf Wake-Ups

          Walk barefoot for a moment or two. Stand with your feet at a comfortable distance from one another. With an even pace, raise yourself up to stand on your toes and lower to flat feet again. Repeat 5 to 10 times. (If you have arch pain, you may need to put on comfortable, supportive shoes before you get out of bed.)[2]

          Once You Have Moved Around a Bit

          Standing toe touches are a wonderful stretch for the legs, back, and arms. However, bending over first thing in the morning can make some people feel light headed. Blood needs to circulate throughout your body before you decide to bring your head below your heart. Be mindful of your personal blood pressure condition.[3]

          Save these next few stretches for after you have moved around a bit with a some of the stretches shown above. This will help ensure that you get some fluid and oxygen flowing throughout your body first.[4]

          15. Alternating Toe-Touches

          Stand with your feet apart shoulder distance. Reach your right hand down to touch your left foot, ankle, or shin.

          Directly from this, raise both arms up as you lengthen your spine and body to be upright. Reach your left hand to your right foot, ankle, or shin. Alternate from each position 3 to 5 times for great morning stretches.

          16. Wide-Legged Arm Swings

          Place your feet as wide as is comfortable. Without locking your knees, bend at the waist and reach for your toes. Gently swing your arms allowing them to dangle as you wiggle your fingers. Raise and lower 1 to 3 times.

          For a challenge, place your palms on the floor instead of swinging them. Bend at the knees, bringing your bottom close to the floor. Breathe out as you lower into a crouching position. Repeat 2 to 3 times.

          17. Child’s Pose to Downward Dog

          Start with your hands and feet square on the floor table position). Keeping your hands on the floor, lower your bottom to sit on your feet. Slowly, let out your breath as you go down. Tuck your head between your shoulders; you should feel your spine lengthen.

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          Balasana: Child's Pose | Yoga | Gaia

             

            Come back to table position. Gently straighten your arms and legs and raise your bottom into the air (downward dog). Fill your lungs as you go upward. Push into your palms and feel the stretch throughout your arms and legs. In a fluid motion, do this transition 2 to 3 times to get a great lower and upper body stretch.

            Why doesn't yoga4cancer include Downward Facing Dog? - yoga4cancer (y4c) - Classes, Teacher Training and Support

               

              Staying Motivated As You Advance in Your Routine

              As you become comfortable with each stretch, try to complete them one right after the other. Create a new order each week. Do some forward leg swings as you brush your teeth to get you started on a day when you are less interested.

              Teach your favorite morning stretches to a friend. This will help keep you inspired and refresh your memory for each one.

              Print this list, and cut the paper into pieces according to the individual stretches. Shuffle the pieces and pick them at random to keep it interesting.

              Putting It All Together

              Stretches that pull through the whole body help to unify muscles, joints, tendons, and ligaments throughout your limbs. Alternate your favorite morning stretches.

              You will notice than many of these stretches can easily be adapted or enjoyed on the way to your favorite park, down the sidewalk, or in a yard space. A door frame can be traded for a tree. Your hallway can be traded for a park walkway.

              The most important thing is to get yourself moving in a way that incorporates your entire body without introducing fast and jerky motions first thing as your feet hit the floor.

              More for Your Morning Routine

              Featured photo credit: Scott Broome via unsplash.com

              Reference

              [1] Better Health Chiropractic & Physical Rehab: 4 Questions about Morning Aches & Pains that You’re Too Afraid to Ask
              [2] News Medical Life Sciences: Causes of Arch Pain
              [3] GHOSH YOGA: Blood Pressure & Putting the Head Below the Heart
              [4] Neuroscience: The Blood Supply of the Brain and Spinal Cord

              More by this author

              Dr. Brent Wells, D.C.

              Chiropractic doctor currently leading over 10,000 Alaskans to more active, pain-free lifestyles โ€“ without addictive drugs or invasive surgeries.

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              Published on April 16, 2021

              Guided Meditation For Increased Energy: How And Why It Works

              Guided Meditation For Increased Energy: How And Why It Works

              Are daily stressors draining your vital energy levels? Do you know deep down that meditation could help you out, but on some level, you repeatedly tell yourself that you don’t have the time or know-how to meditate? If so, you could do with some help, and you’re going to get to know all about guided meditation for energy to sort you out.

              By the end of this article, you will have the tools in your possession to get started and know all about the amazing benefits to start feeling like your best self.

              Your Life Is Energy

              If you didn’t know it already, everything in the universe around you is energy. Everything you are perceiving, feeling, touching, or tasting right now are all vibrations of energy at its core.

              Life energy—or Prana as it is also referred to in yogic philosophy—is flowing through you at all times, keeping you alive. When this energy is in tune, it aligns your body, mind, and soul to work in harmony.

              Unfortunately, growing up, most people aren’t taught or shown how to efficiently align these three elements. This can lead to energy leaks in your state of being.

              Your daily stream of unconscious thoughts, for example, is one element that uses up a vital part of life’s crucial energy flowing through you. How much energy you deplete then really depends on what you’re thinking about most of the day.

              Say you’re thinking positive thoughts. You won’t be very likely to want to resist such pleasantness. Your energy levels, therefore, would most likely stay well connected to the source of life supplying you.

              Having said that, given the human mind’s negative bias and your natural tendency to avoid pain, most of what you think unconsciously will automatically be distorted towards negative thoughts, negative emotions, and stress. These negative states will cause you to resist the life energy flowing through you causing you to feel depleted.

              Just like a dam, every time you engage and persist in negativity and negative emotions, you’re building on and strengthening the barrier blocking your life force from flowing freely. In fact, every time you engage in an anger burst, it can deplete your immune system for up to 5 hours.[1]

              Many stress-related health issues nowadays often arise because of depleted and blocked energy levels and uncontrolled thought processes. Luckily, guided meditation can be a powerful tool to reverse all of that and even empower you towards significant lifestyle changes.

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              What You Stand to Gain

              Guided meditation for energy isn’t complicated to define. It’s the process of instilling a state of deep peace within yourself, all the while training your attention and awareness. This is generally done by following the guidance of a trained practitioner.

              Just like any new appliance you purchase, you’re most likely going to have to glance at the instructions manual to get it running. Well, the same can apply to meditation.

              Meditation isn’t at all a complex practice. However, if you’ve never tried it out before, a guide can help get you started by directing your stream of thoughts and focus. The guide will act as your instructions manual to help accustom you to your new meditation practice.

              Guided meditation for energy has many outstanding benefits to your mental and physical well-being. In fact, adopting a regular guided meditation practice can give you the following benefits:

              1. Still Your Mind

              When was the last time you counted zero thoughts floating through your head? Wouldn’t it be great to reach such a point and enjoy moments of peace, deep relaxation, and silence regularly after a guided meditation session?

              2. Sharper Focus and Cognitive Abilities

              As you become more conscious, you’ll notice increased capabilities within yourself to act more often, rather than react to the circumstances in your life. This will also allow you to focus more on the solutions rather than on the problems in your environment.

              3. Reduce Feelings of Anxiety and Depression

              Given most anxious and depressive feelings arise out of cognitive distortions, a regular guided meditation practice for energy can help you get acquainted with your higher self—your soul.

              From this place of consciousness, you will find it easier to sit peacefully above your thoughts, untouched by whatever commotion is going on down under. Through conscious awareness, you’ll also find it easier to reflect and rationalize on any limiting beliefs.

              4. Lowers Your Heart Rate and Blood Pressure

              As you relax your body and focus on deep relaxing breaths, you are activating the parasympathetic nervous system in your body. As you do so, this allows your heart rate to decrease and your blood pressure to drop as your blood vessels begin to open up.

              5. Help Heal Health Issues

              Yes, when given the chance, your body does have the ability to heal itself in certain circumstances. Life energy is also healing energy when you allow it to flow freely undisturbed throughout your being.[2]

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              Guided meditation for energy allows your bodily processes to conserve and generate more energy for healing than they otherwise would be able to in a stressed-out and depleted state.

              6. Help Create and Influence Your Desired Future

              That’s right, the thoughts you are focusing on every day are highly influencing your reality. Remember that everything around you is energy and is also created out of energy! Therefore, your thoughts are nothing more than a frequency of energy!

              Guided meditation will often require you to use positive mental imagery for visualization. As you become increasingly capable of visualizing and feeling positive emotions in the process, the emotional frequency vibrations you will begin to emit from within yourself will become much stronger. This higher energy frequency can then influence and attract more positive future circumstances in your life.

              You can check out the Law of Attraction if you’re interested in knowing more on how to start visualizing actual life goals you wish to manifest in your own life.[3]

              7. Improve Sleep Quality

              Guided meditation for energy looks to hack into your deeper brain waves to instill a state of deep relaxation within you. The more relaxed you feel and the stiller your mind, then the easier you’ll find it to fall and remain asleep.

              Even better, as your practice becomes a regular habit, you’ll notice you actually won’t need all that much sleep to wake up feeling refreshed and ready to take on a new day—simply because as you live more from a state of ease, your body will need less rest to conserve its energy and operate efficiently.

              8. Cultivate Gratitude and Compassion

              Love, gratitude, and compassion for yourself are often hard to come by in today’s ego-driven and chaotic world. A regular guided meditation practice can help grow these positive emotions towards yourself and others. As you begin to transcend your ego, you won’t want to turn back once you’ve experienced a taster of selflessness and all the bundle of positive emotions it comes with.

              9. Foster Spiritual Growth

              All the above benefits are great, though this one is by far the most valuable. It doesn’t matter if you’re religious or not, spirituality is all about connecting to the creating source of life—be it God, spirit, universe, energy, or whatever you believe created all the magnificence around us. Regular guided meditation sessions will deepen your connection with your spiritual self and can help make you feel more connected to the people and world around you.

              In yogic philosophy, meditation is one of the tools of self-discovery to connect Atman with Brahman. This refers to the process of connecting an Individual soul with the eternal consciousness of the universe.

              Through regular guided meditation, you can transcend the ego and come to realize that you and everything around you is one and connected! No words can best describe this realization. It really is an experience you must feel for yourself.

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              The Guided Meditation Process

              You might be wondering, what’s the guided meditation process like?

              Well, guided meditation is often the required stepping stone you’ll take before you feel comfortable progressing towards unguided meditation. If you never wish to progress to unguided meditation, that’s absolutely fine, too. You can still perfectly achieve most—if not all—of the above benefits with the help of a guide.

              First off make yourself comfortable and follow these steps:

              1. Pick a Guided Meditation of Your Choice

              Nowadays, there are many helpful guided meditations over the internet or through mobile applications. Many of these apps or websites offer you focused meditations on many specific objectives you’re after.

              For example, if you’re suffering from stress or insomnia, you will find ample guided meditations of varying length durations to pick from on those specific subjects. You can check out YouTube or any meditation apps such as Headspace to get yourself started.

              Now, it’s important that you choose a guide with a soothing and comfortable voice. After all, that voice will be the one guiding you to the deepest relaxation experience within yourself, and you want to ensure their voice makes you feel good.

              2. Find a Comfortable Seated Position and Close Your Eyes

              To meditate, you don’t necessarily have to sit cross-legged or chant any mantras. Simply, find yourself in a comfortable armchair or seated position, ensuring your back is upright.

              Next, close your eyes and try placing your attention on your breath. Follow your breath in and out to begin grounding yourself in the present moment. After a few deep breaths, begin your guided meditation.

              3. Focus on the Voice Guiding You and Attentively Follow Its Instructions

              Your objective is to mindfully let your thoughts and emotions come and go without giving in to the urge to react to them. This is a challenging task to maintain even for many established meditators, let alone for beginners.

              That’s where guided meditation comes in handy. The guide in the meditation will act as a positive distraction for you to place your focus and attention on. The process is often carried out through visualization instructions, all the while helping you anchor your focus on the rhythm of your breath.

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              4. Go in With an Open Mind and Fully Surrender

              You may come to realize that many guided meditation stories will often narrate fantasy stories not based on reality. That’s absolutely fine! Go with the flow. Your job is not to judge what does or doesn’t make sense in any narration. Your job is to fully surrender to the voice guiding you, and let it take you to the undiscovered parts of your mind and imagination.

              Don’t worry about a thing, most guides are trained practitioners and know exactly what they’re doing to help you out.

              5. Don’t Rush Back to Your Senses

              Guided meditations for energy can take you into deep states of relaxation and imagination. You may feel detached from your bodily sensations in the process, and that’s a great thing to feel. Once your guide brings you back to your body, make sure to take a couple of moments to yourself before getting back to reality.

              Takeaway

              Once you experience the deeper dimensions of your consciousness and higher energy levels, you’ll find it hard to want to go back and remain in a depleted state of stress. So, why not treat yourself to the positive experiences of guided meditation for energy daily?

              Just 15 minutes a day of guided meditation is more than enough to unlock all the amazing benefits listed above. The best times to schedule your new habit would be first thing in the morning upon awakening or right before bedtime.

              Like most self-development tools, guided meditation is a lifelong process, so do not expect to notice all of the benefits at once. However, with patience and persistence in your practice, your life journey will take on a new positive direction and you won’t want to look back.

              So, how about you get started right now?

              More About Guided Meditation

              Featured photo credit: Erik Brolin via unsplash.com

              Reference

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