Morning is good and bad. Restless sleep, tense muscles and the feeling that the joints literally “squeak” … “Stretching before getting out of bed will help wake up the body and improve blood circulation,” says Dr. Beth Freits, who runs the wellness programs at one from Harvard rehab clinics.
Mild morning stretching can improve your well-being and mood. This muscle work helps release chemicals that lubricate the joints, making it easier to move around during the day.
Where to begin?
Usually, the muscles are warmed up before stretching to make them more flexible due to the blood flow. In this case, this is not necessary, because after spending the night in bed, we are already warm. So all that needs to be done to prepare is to pull off the blanket so that nothing hinders movement, and bend-unbend the joints for a few minutes.
- Lying on your back, raise your legs and bend your knees and feet. Raise and lower your legs with your knees raised. Move your ankles by moving your legs back and forth.
- Now you need to sit down. Look slowly to the left, then to the right. Move your shoulders and then elbows, keeping your hands in front of you. Twist your hands, flexing your wrists. Squeeze and unclench your fingers.
Having prepared in this way, you can proceed to the exercises. They are divided into blocks that can be executed in any order. For some movements, you may need a towel or a special belt, which you can put in advance by the bed.
“If possible, set aside 30 to 60 seconds for each block,” advises Beth Freits, “and don’t jump, it can hurt your muscles.”
1. Stretching the whole body
Lie on your back with both legs extended. With straight outstretched arms behind your head, hold a towel or belt. The distance from hand to hand is approximately equal to shoulder width. Raise your arms up and lower your head back onto the bed, keeping the tension on the belt.
Lying on your back, extend your arms along your body. Bending your left knee, wrap your arms around the leg under it and pull towards your chest. Press your right leg against the bed if possible to feel the tension in the muscles. Returning to the starting position, switch legs.
3. Lateral quadriceps muscle
Lie on your right side with your legs stretched out straight and your right hand under your head. Bend your left knee and pull your heel towards your left buttock. With your left hand, try to grab your left leg in the ankle area. This will give tension to the front of the thigh and lower leg. Roll over onto your left side and repeat the exercise.
Lying on your back with outstretched straight legs, lift your right up. Bending your knee, place your foot on the belt, holding the ends in your hands like reins. Straighten your leg as much as possible, direct it towards the ceiling. Feel the muscles working as you tighten the belt. Repeat with the left leg.
5. Child’s pose
On all fours, place your knees at a comfortable width. The big toes should touch each other. Head and neck in a neutral position. Lower your pelvis as low as possible to your calves, to your heels. Stretch your arms in front of you, resting your forehead on the bed. Feel the tension in the muscles in your arms, back, and shoulders.
Lie face down with your legs and feet extended. Place your hands at chest level, just below your shoulders, and press your palms against the bed. Leaning on your hands, slowly raise your head, shoulders, and chest. This will help stretch the front of your torso.
These exercises can be beneficial for everyone, especially older people: if repeated regularly, this morning stretch in bed can even help prevent falls. “By focusing on the arms and legs, the elderly can begin to lower their feet more carefully and gently to the floor,” adds Beth Freits.