Tell me you haven’t woken up on one of those lazy weekend mornings and stretched and stretched. This way and that, reaching as far as you can above your head and elongating your legs and pointed toes. It is one of those amazing feelings we have all enjoyed. It doesn’t even matter what kind of shape you are in or aren’t. Stretching just plain feels good. Well, you don’t have to limit morning stretches to those extra weekend minutes while still lying in bed. We have seven great full (or nearly full) body stretches to get you ready to move with fewer aches and pains. You can learn even more about these stretches at early-morning-stretches.
Shoulder Morning Stretches
Do 3-5 stretches for 30 seconds for each shoulder. Stand, or sit if that is more comfortable, holding your back straight. If standing, your feet should be a comfortable width apart, maybe shoulder distance. Now bring one arm up to shoulder height and pull the straight arm into and across your body, so your fingers are pointing to the other shoulder. Now use your free arm to pull the arm and shoulder as tight to the body as possible and hold it there. This move increases your mobility and flexibility as it helps to strengthen and protect your shoulder as it is one of the most delicate joints in your body.
Triceps Morning Stretches
Do 3-5 stretches for 30 seconds for each arm. You can transition into this move easily from your shoulder stretches. Stand or sit just like you did during those stretches. Now raise your arm above your head, bend your elbow and bring your hand toward the opposite shoulder. Your wrist and forearm should be behind your head. With the hand not on the shoulder, resting on the bent elbow and lightly press to extend the stretch. Do not force the stretch too far, but just enough to feel your muscles lengthening to meet the demand. Triceps are small muscles, but they are an important muscle for strength and mobility. Strong triceps also help extend the healthy life of other shoulder and arm muscles for athletic longevity.
Butterfly Morning Stretches
Do 3-5 morning stretches for 30 seconds. Sit on the ground and put both legs straight in front of you. Now, bend both of your knees and tuck them in so you bring the bottom of both feet together and touching as flat as possible to each other. Now gently press down on your thighs with your elbows. You will feel the stretch in your inner thighs and the inner edge of your hip joints. This stretch improves hips and thigh flexibility and mobility.
Runner’s Morning Stretches
Do 3-5 morning stretches for 30 seconds with each leg. This works great to do right after the butterfly stretches while you are on the ground already. Now, bend one leg, tucking it in so the bottom of your foot rests as high as possible on the inner part of your other leg. If you can get it, so the back of your heel is almost to the groin, you’ll get the biggest stretch. But you may have to do the stretch for several weeks or months to get that much flexibility. Once your bent leg is in position, lean your body forward from the waist and reach your arm as far as you can. The goal is to be able to wrap your hands around your foot, but if you can only bend enough to hold to the top of your calf, do that. Don’t over stretch risking damage to the muscles and tendons. You should feel this stretch in your hips, knees, calf muscles, and especially your hamstrings at the back of your thighs. This stretch can help many of the common joint pains suffered by runners.
Quadriceps Morning Stretches
Do 3-5 of these for up to 30 seconds each for each leg. You’ll probably recognize this from seeing runners do it. Stand with your feet close together and your body straight and upright. Now bend one of your knees and raise your heel toward your backside. Reach back and grab your foot pulling it slowly upward. Do not pull jerky or fast, and do not pull beyond what the muscle will move easily. Now hold in position and feel the stretch in the front of your thigh from the hip to the knee. This move improves circulation and can relieve stress in your body as well as easing any back and knee pain.
Calf Morning Stretches
Do 3-5 of these for up to 30 seconds each for each calf. Stand facing a wall, sturdy chair or bench with your feet approximately shoulder-width distance. Now, lean forward with your knees straight and dig your heels back into the ground as you pull your chest as close to the wall as possible. You can get a similar calf stretch, but not quite as much full-body involvement while standing on a step with your foot half way on the step. Hang your heels off and slowly stretch by pushing your heels downward. This move will help relieve hip, knee, foot, and shin pain, as well as safeguard and strengthen your Achilles Heel.
Standing Side Morning Stretches
Do 3-5 of these for up to 30 seconds for each side. Stand with your feet a comfortable distance apart. Make the stance wide enough so you won’t have balance issues as you bend from one side to the other. Stretch both hands above your head and if you are leaning to the right side, grab hold of the left hand with the right pulling it slightly as you bend from the waist as far to the left as possible. You should feel this stretch on the side of your body from just below the waist almost up to the armpit. This stretch strengthens and safeguards your core, spine, and back muscles. It can also help if you are having some digestive issues.
All seven of these morning stretches are easy to do, and you should get through them all in just 30 minutes or so. But several of them you can also do while you are doing other steps in your morning routine. Waiting for the coffee, do your calf stretches or standing side stretches. Triceps and shoulder stretches could easily be done while you are in the shower. Which leaves only the ones while you are on the ground for you to figure out something else to do as you stretch. You might put a pile of unmatched socks near your feet and match up a few pairs while you are stretching on the floor. What other ideas do you have about these morning stretches?