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Sharp Health News

Rise and shine with these morning stretches

May 15, 2018

Rise and shine with these morning stretches

Olga Hays, an American Council on Exercise-certified wellness promotion specialist at Sharp HealthCare, demonstrates four easy stretches to start your day.

A morning stretch routine is a great way to jump-start your day. You will get your circulation going, focus your mind and gently wake up your body.

Olga Hays, an American Council on Exercise-certified wellness promotion specialist at Sharp HealthCare, suggests these four morning stretches to get your body primed for the day:

1. Spinal twist

This stretch loosens up the lower back, opens up the chest and stretches the outside of the legs.

Spinal twist

Instructions

  • Lie flat on your back
  • Bring your right knee in toward your belly and cradle it with the opposite hand, keeping the left leg out straight
  • Gently cross the right leg over the left, twisting at the hip, and let the right leg lie at a 90-degree angle (try to keep both shoulders flat on the floor or bed)
  • Turn your head to look in the opposite direction to the bent leg
  • Take two to four deep breaths
  • Repeat on the other side

2. Seated upward stretch

Upward stretches are a great way to wake up your whole body and get the blood flowing.

Upward stretch

Instructions

  • Sit cross-legged
  • Interlace your fingers and raise your hands above your head, palms facing upward
  • Elongate your spine and feel the stretch in your rib cage and arms
  • Take a few deep breaths as you reach from both sides of your torso
  • Relax and repeat one more time

3. Forward fold

The forward fold aims to relieve tension from the back and increase the flexibility of the hamstrings and calf muscles.

Forward fold

Instructions

  • Sit with your legs out straight
  • Bring your arms over your head
  • Begin to fold forward with your arms and shoulders, followed by your back and core
  • Lower your torso as low as you can, and once you find a comfortable depth, relax your shoulders and stay in the pose for 20 to 30 seconds
  • Slowly raise your torso back up to the starting position

4. Standing half-moon

This lateral side stretch opens up the side of the body, including the rib cage.

Standing half moon

Instructions

  • Lift up your arms toward the sky, interlacing your fingers
  • Stretch upward, then slowly over to the right, grounding through your feet as you reach out
  • Take three deep breaths
  • Relax and slowly move your bent torso back to center
  • Repeat on the other side

"It is important to remember to breathe throughout each of these stretches, and never stretch to the point of pain," says Hays. "You'll feel the benefits over time, and your body and mind will thank you with reduced pain and an increase in clarity, energy and focus throughout your day."

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