Whether you have arthritis or general joint pain and stiffness in the morning, gentle stretches may help to kick start your day. Evidence shows that exercise and stretching help to increase blood flow and oxygen, increase the joint’s range of motion, your physical function, as well as beneficial to mental wellbeing. You may practice these five easy stretches to loosen up when you are feeling stiff and painful.
1. Gentle Supine Twists
It is common to wake up in the morning to tight muscles in your lower back after a night in bed. This relaxing stretch relieves stiffness in the spine while the deep breathing will gently wake you up.
Start by lying on your back with legs straight and arms stretched out to the side. Then, keep your right knees bent over your left leg, twisting at the hip. With your head at the opposite direction of your bent leg, make sure that your shoulders remain on the floor. Take two to four deep breaths and relax on exhalation. Repeat on the other side.
2. Hamstring Stretch
This stretch can help to loosen up your lower back, hamstrings, hips, knees, and ankles.
Lie on your back with legs extended and draw your right knee up toward the chest. Hold the back of the leg (either above or below the knee) by both hand and extend the right foot up toward the ceiling. Pull the leg closer to the chest, and begin making a big slow circle by rotating the ankle. Take 5 long, slow, deep breaths as you ease deeper into the stretch. Repeat for the left side.
3. Thread the Needle
This stretch helps to release tension in the neck and shoulders that commonly occur in the morning.
Begin on the floor with a child-like pose; with your head close or on the floor and arms outstretched in front of you. Then take your right arm and slide it underneath your left armpit, with your palm facing upward. Your head should face the side of the palm. Hold in this pose for 10 seconds. Do not forget to take a deep breath and repeat likewise on the opposite side.
4. Seated Side Stretch
This easy seated stretch will help to open up the hips, back, shoulders, and triceps.
Put your legs crossed in a seated position. Bend slightly into the left arm and extend your right arm above your head as you inhale. Once your arms are extended, exhale. Make sure that your pelvic bones are not raised and you should feel a stretch through your right side. Switch sides after holding on for 10 seconds.
5. Cow pose to Cat pose
These two classic yoga poses help to warm the spine and activate the core.
Begin by kneeling down on your hands and knees. As the name implies, the cow pose involves arching your back while the cat pose involves rounding your back.
Make sure that you inhale to arch your back and that your belly is lowered towards the ground. Keep your neck long in cow pose. Cat pose can be achieved by exhaling as you round your spine, with your pelvis tucked and chin drew towards your chest.
Alternate between your cow and cat pose for eight full rounds of breath.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
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