You just smacked the snooze button on your alarm clock for the fourth time, and finally you decide it’s time to get up. How can you get your blood pumping, your brain awake and your mind sharp without breaking a sweat or spending too much time? Stretching in the morning is a great way to revive your body from its deep slumber. Stretching increases blood flow to your muscles and resets your mind for a successful day.
First, what you’ll want to do is drink a full glass or two of water. You’ve just spent the last several hours (hopefully at least seven) in a motionless state of oblivion. Your whole body is yearning for water. Drinking water will further stimulate your muscles and joints and help relieve tension in your back.
Now that your body is properly lubricated, it’s time to get going. And best of all, you don’t need anything but your body and your bedroom floor. Next time you have five or 10 minutes to spare, try this short morning stretch routine that will revamp your outlook on the day and render your mind and body alert.
How to do it: Standing with your feet just a few inches apart, bend your torso forward toward the floor — keeping your back straight and knees just slightly bent. Aim to touch the back of your lower leg / calf area with your hands. Or, for an extra challenge, try to hug your lower body. Hold for 20 seconds.
How to do it: Starting in a push-up position, do one regular pushup. On the up phase, shift your weight over onto one hand and raise the other hand above your shoulder until both arms are vertically aligned. Hold for five seconds and repeat with another push-up and making your “T” to the other side. Perform five reps to each side for a total of 10.
Static Lunge / Stretch
How to do it: Standing with one foot forward and the other far back, bend both knees slowly to lower your body straight vertically down and raise straight up. Repeat 10 times, then softly set your knee on the ground and shift your weight forward onto your front foot to feel a stretch in the thigh of your back leg. Hold for 15 seconds and repeat with other leg forward.
Revolved Triangle Pose
How to do it: Standing up straight and facing forward, spread your legs out wide about 1.5 times shoulder width. Turn both your toes and torso to one side. If turning to the right, take your left arm and touch the right side of your right foot and turn your torso facing to your right. Point your other arm straight up and hold for 15 seconds. Repeat with other side.
How to do it: This one has a great start: You’re lying down on your stomach with your arms out to your sides, and in one cohesive movement elevate all your limbs and head above the ground as if stretching them further away from your body. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat five times.
How to do it: Start by laying flat on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Raise your hands above your head and stretch to lay your arms flat on the floor. Slowly dig into the heels of your feet to lift your hips up to parallel with your thighs, lower back to the floor and repeat 10 times.
How to do it: Start in a seated position with your hands out in front of you to the side of your legs. Slowly lean back and raise your heels off the ground about three inches high. Hold this position for 30 seconds.
Zach Hunt is a personal trainer in Spokane.