woman performing morning stretches

12 Morning Stretches to Help You Get Rid of Pain And Stiffness

The first thing people do in the mornings, besides hitting the alarm clock, is stretch. Whether it’s a dramatic arm-stretched-over-head pose accompanied by a big yawn or a little tilt of the neck, the body has an urge to loosen up and increase blood flow after lying still all night.

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Unfortunately, many people go from beds to their cars to their desk jobs, and the body had no opportunity to stretch. These people are missing the incredible benefits of stretching and yoga poses, especially when they are done first thing in the morning. These benefits include:

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  • Reducing pain, tension, and stiffness
  • Improves circulation and warms up the body
  • Boosts mood and energy
  • Improves mindfulness, which can lead to reducing food intake
  • Reduces stress [1]

Yoga is often stereotyped to be a “fluffy and easy” exercise, but those who practice understand the challenge of strength and balance yoga presents. It’s no wonder research has proved the connection between yoga and weight loss. [2]

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12 Morning Stretches to Boost Energy and Burn Fat

The following poses are the most beneficial when performing in a flowing sequence, but they can be practiced individually if desired. Repeat the flow about 2–4 to maximize the benefits, holding each pose for about 30 seconds. Take the time to breathe and relax through every posture, which can be difficult during the more strenuous ones.

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Performing them first thing right after waking up is a healthy way to kickstart the morning, but they can be practiced at any time during the day.

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1. Child’s Pose

Begin kneeling on the floor, the big toes touching. Spread the knees or keep them close together, depending on what is more comfortable. Slowly fold the torso forward. The forehead may touch the floor or hover above it. The arms can either stretch forward or rest beside the body. Take a deep breath in this posture.

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child's pose

2. Standing Forward Bend

Inhale and stand. The feet should be hip-width apart, the balls and heels of the foot rooted to the ground. Exhale and bend forward until the hands rest on the floor, bend the knees if needed.

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standing forward bend

3. Downward-Facing Dog

Inhale, spread the fingers wide, push the palms of the hands into the floor, and step both feet back. Press the hips back and then up, as if stretching the chest toward the thighs. Maintain a long and straight spine by pushing into the palms and lifting through the tailbone. Draw the heels toward the floor, feeling a stretch in the back of the legs. Breathe deeply.

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downward dog

4. Three-Legged Dog

Inhale and lift one leg. Take a breath, and lower it slowly. Repeat with the other leg. Experiment with bending the knee, lifting the leg higher, or whatever movement feels natural.

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three legged dog

5. Lunge

Inhale and step the left foot between the two hands. Keep the left leg bent, the knee over the ankle, and the right leg straight. While resting the fingertips beside the left foot, lift the chest and look forward.

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lunge

6. Crescent Lunge

Inhale and lift the arms overhead, bringing the torso upright. Bring the palms of the hands together, push the ground away with your feet, and imagine the head is against the ceiling. The spine is long and the shoulders relaxed. Look up, creating a gentle backbend.

crescent lunge

7. Warrior II

Exhale and widen the stance, the back foot perpendicular to the front. Inhale and rotate the chest to face the side of the room. Exhale and extend the arms to the sides, one arm over each leg. The front leg is still bent with the knee directly over the ankle. Sink the hips toward the ground while relaxing the shoulders and jaw. Exhale and turn the head to face the bent leg. Breathe deeply through this strengthening pose.

warrior II

8. Reverse Warrior

Exhale and rest the right hand onto the right leg. Inhale and lift the left arm up toward the sky. If it’s comfortable for the neck, look up at the left hand. If not, look forward. Keep the left knee bent and the feet planted into the ground.

reverse warrior stretch

9. Triangle Pose

Inhale and straighten the bent leg. Extend the arms to the sides and stretch the left hand forward to the front of the room. Lower the left hand to the left leg and press the knuckles against the shin, ankle, or floor. Ensure the left ear remains parallel with the leg; don’t hunch forward. Raise the right hand to the ceiling and look up at it, opening the chest.

Repeat the sequence starting from the Lunge to Triangle Pose on the opposite side.

triangle pose

10. Plank

Kneel onto the floor, and plant the hands beneath the shoulders. Inhale, lift the knees, and root the balls of the feet onto the floor. Engage the core and keep the gaze just beyond the fingertips. Don’t allow the hips to collapse toward the floor; keep them strong and imagine the body in one straight line.

plank

11. Upward Dog

Inhale and with precision, bend the elbows while keeping them close to the body. Then point the toes, press down into the hands, straighten the arms, and bring the chest forward, lifting the hips and knees off the ground. Press onto the tops of the feet to support the legs.

upward dog

12. Cat and Cow

Exhale and gently lower the chest then knees onto the ground. Inhale and come up onto all fours, the hands under the shoulder and the knees under the hips. Inhale and arch the back, lifting the tailbone and gaze toward the ceiling. Drop the shoulders away from the ears. Exhale and tuck the chin toward the chest and round the back by tightening the core and pushing the mid-back toward the ceiling. Repeat the Cat and Cow flow 6–10 times then rest. [3]

cat cow stretch

We hope these simple morning stretches help you maintain your flexibility and good health!

Read More: Cities Are Building Elder Playgrounds For Baby Boomers To Exercise And Play

Thomas Nelson
Freelance Writer
Thomas is an environmental advocate currently residing in the Pacific Northwest. In his spare time, he enjoys experiencing the outdoors, raising chickens and ducks, and reading about current environmental issues. Despite slight colorblindness, his favorite color is green.
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