Okay, we understand. Waking up is never easy. It's not fun, especially if you have an incredibly comfy bed to stay in, or if it looks cold outside. But waking up, getting energized, and getting ready for the day can be as easy as practicing a few easy morning stretches!
Good morning stretches are a great way to loosen the tension in your body when you're still partly in slumber. They'll stretch your muscles, get rid of any aches, and set you up with a positive, cheery mindset that will (hopefully!) carry on until bedtime.
Stretches can be as simple as arching your back while you're still in bed, but you can also start practicing resistance band stretches or light stretches with a pull-up assistance band to really help you loosen up!
Here are 8 morning stretches that are guaranteed to wake you up!
How do I stretch properly?
Let's first determine what stretching properly looks like!
For a comprehensive and useful morning stretch, there's a little more to it than just raising your arms in the air!
Here is a collection of simple advice to help you get a good stretch in the morning:
- Make a conscious effort to properly stretch your muscles before and after you work out. Don't skip out, even if you only stretch for a few minutes!
- Before working out, hold the stretches for about 15 seconds each, and no longer than 30 seconds each. Holding them much longer than this and your muscles become too loose and won't be as effective!
- After exercising, hold your stretches statically to loosen up and cool down. You can hold stretches for longer, for at least 45 seconds.
- If you have particularly tight muscles, specifically target these muscles with stretches (if your quads are tight, stretch them!)
- Stretch your back regularly to improve your posture.
- Don't hold your breath while you're stretching; instead, breathe in and out slowly.
- If you're about to exercise, stretch the areas of your body that you'll be working, but don't neglect secondary muscles too (if you're doing loads of bicep curls, you still want to stretch your shoulders and back, too!)
There are many more tips, but often, it's best to start stretching and learning what your muscles like and what they don't like!
Full body morning stretch routine
A full body morning stretch is the best way to wake up and loosen up in the morning. The following exercises can be performed individually, in any order you like, or in conjunction with other activities or morning stretches you enjoy.
You don't need to be going into a workout to enjoy the benefits of morning stretching, either. These movements are for anyone and everyone, no matter what your plans are for the rest of the day!
Basic full body stretch routine
The following morning stretches require literally no equipment at all. All you need to do is crawl out of bed, stand up straight, and start stretching.
Hold each stretch for approximately 15 seconds to loosen up. This is really light stuff, so don't feel you like you have to get carried away. We aren't going for a good morning workout, after all!
If this is too easy, though, we've listed a few resistance band stretches below to ramp up the intensity of your morning stretches.
#1 Upper back stretch
- Sit on the end of a bed or chair, and interlock your fingers.
- Reach forward with your arms and bend from the middle of your back.
- Keep pushing forward with your arms, keeping your fingers interlocked.
- You'll feel your back and shoulder blades stretching out!
#2 Quad stretch
You can make this stretch more difficult using a resistance band to really deepen the stretch. Loop a band around your foot and hold onto the other end above your shoulder.
- Get out of bed (terrible, we know!) and stand up tall with your feet loosely apart.
- Reach behind your back and hold onto your right foot with your right hand.
- Raise your right foot until it reaches your hip.
- Switch legs and repeat.
#3 Shoulder stretch
- Stay seated on the end of your bed, or stand up.
- Keep your shoulders relaxed, and reach across your body with one arm.
- Use your second arm to hold the arm that your stretching and increase the stretch.
- Hold, then switch arms and repeat.
#4 Side stretch
- Stand tall, raising your arms above your head.
- Hold both hands together and then lean your body sideways (left or right; it doesn't matter).
- You'll feel your sides stretching out as you deepen the lean.
- Hold, then repeat on the alternate side.
#5 Hamstring stretch
- Stand tall and bend one knee (like you're trying to sit down!).
- Keep your second leg completely straight, but keep it ahead of you.
- You'll feel the stretch on your straight leg as you point your toes upwards.
- Hold, then repeat on the alternate leg.
#6 Calf stretch
- Stand tall, facing a wall. Hold your hands out and use the wall for support.
- Take a step backward with your right leg while pushing into the wall with your hands.
- Dig your back heel into the ground, to stretch out your calf.
- Hold, then switch legs and repeat.
Resistance band stretches
If those stretches aren't enough to get you going in the morning, then you might require a few resistance bands stretches to really wake you up!
Resistance bands have several benefits when you're stretching, and they are super-easy to use too. You can better target specific muscles that might need loosening up, and you can better control the stretch.
Again, try not to overdo it on the stretching, though, as you're only just waking up!
#7 Banded glute bridge
- With a resistance band around both legs just above the knees, lie down with your back flat to the floor.
- Raise your knees until they are at a right angle to the floor.
- Thrust up gently with your hips to raise them towards the ceiling.
- Hold, then lower back to the start.
#8 Banded squat hold
- Place a resistance band above your knees.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Bend your knees to lower your body.
- Hold, with your arms outstretched for balance.
- Keep your back straight and raise yourself back to the start.
The last say on morning stretches!
Waking up in the morning will be a whole lot easier with a few stretches to get your warmed up and ready to take on the new day. And it's particularly beneficial if you have an intense morning workout to look forward to as well! Taking a few minutes when you first roll out of bed to relax, loosen up, and engage your body to the rest of the world will keep you in a much more positive mindset throughout the day.
Why not start your morning off on a positive note by adding morning stretches into your daily routine!