Preparing Our Muscles and Joints for the Day
These days, we're likely not jumping out of bed as much as we used to, especially considering that most of us work from home now.
But we shouldn't be jumping out of bed when our muscles are stiff and our joints creaky.
This is why it's best to warm up and stretch our body before we ever touch the floor.
Stretching before getting out of bed can help wake up the body and improve the circulation.
It can also turn on the parasympathetic system – the ‘rest and digest' system — which puts us in a more relaxed state right when we get out of bed, helping set the tone for a calm morning and day.
Theoretically, stretching before getting out of bed may also help prevent falls.
How should you start?
Normally before you stretch, you should warm up your muscles; that gets blood flowing to them so they're more pliable.
But muscles are already on the warmer side when you've been in bed all night.
All it takes to prepare for stretches in bed, then, is a few minutes of flexing the joints before you stretch. (Tip: Remove your blanket and sheets before stretching, to give yourself a little more room.)
While you're still lying down, flex your lower limbs: put your knees and feet in the air; with your knees in the air, raise and lower your feet; roll your ankles and move them back and forth.
Next, sit up in bed. Slowly look left and then right. Roll your shoulders a few times; work your elbows by holding both arms in front of you and doing biceps curls; flex your wrists up and down; open and close your hands several times.
Now you're ready to start stretching. Try the stretches we've laid out for you below (in any order you like).
Hold each stretch for 30 to 60 seconds if possible and don't bounce, which can damage the muscles.
When you finish stretching, you'll probably feel better.
Stretching can release the body's ‘feel good' chemicals, lubricate the joints, and help you maintain your range of motion and that makes the wake-up stretching routine a prescription for a full day of better functioning.
Full Body Stretch
Lie on your back with both legs extended. Hold the band shoulder-distance apart with both hands by your hips. Lift the strap up toward the ceiling, over your head and down toward the bed behind you.
Single Knee Pull
Lie on your back with your legs extended. Bend your left knee. Grasp the back of your left thigh and pull your knee toward your chest. Flex your right foot and press the thigh and calf of that leg down toward the bed to feel a stretch in the front of your right hip and top of your right thigh. Return to the starting position and repeat with the other leg.
Side Lying Quad Stretch
Lie on your right side with your legs stacked and extended. Rest your right arm under your head. Bend your left knee and bring your heel toward your left buttock, reaching back with your left hand to grasp your foot. Feel the stretch in the front of your thigh and hip. Turn onto your left side and repeat the exercise.
Position yourself on all fours, knees hip-width apart, big toes touching, and head and neck in neutral alignment. Slowly drop your buttocks back toward your heels as you extend your hands in front of you and rest your forehead on the bed. Feel the stretch down your arms, shoulders, and back.
Lie facedown with your legs extended and toes pointed. Place your hands just below your shoulders, palms down, and press your palms against the bed to slowly lift your head, shoulders, and chest. Feel the stretch down the front of your torso and across your chest.