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Do You Love a Morning Workout?

Whether you’re running errands or a 5K, your body (and mind!) will benefit from these 3 quick stretches in the morning.

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exercises, stretching
Till Lauer
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Being a get-up-and-go person has its advantages. But your muscles and joints would prefer it if you took a few minutes every morning to limber up before you tackle the world — or the stairs.

Stretching before you get out of bed helps “wake up the body and improve 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,” says Beth Frates, M.D., director of wellness programming for the Stroke Research and Recovery Institute at Harvard-affiliated Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital.

When you lie in bed all night, your blood pressure drops, and less blood is pumped through your body.

“We generally wake up very stiff,” says Pam Campbell, a certified personal trainer and yoga instructor with a degree in sports management. “Stretching in the morning helps revive your muscles by increasing blood flow. It improves circulation, helps realign our bodies and makes them more pliable. If you stretch every day, it will improve your mobility and help you avoid injury.”

Let’s begin!

Note: When you do these exercises, you should feel a stretch, not pain. If any of these are painful, stop and consult your physician before proceeding.

Lower Body:

Wake up your hips and knees by lying on your back in bed and grabbing one knee with both hands. Pull your knee toward your chest and hold for 10 seconds while you roll your ankles in circles. Then repeat on the other side. Do this three times on each side.

Head & Neck:

Sit up slowly and look forward. Without moving your shoulders or any other part of your body, tilt your neck as if you were trying to touch your ear to your shoulder. Hold for 10 seconds, then repeat on the other side. Do this on both sides, three times.

Then progress to neck rolling. Look up and forward, tilt your head to your shoulder again, but this time slowly roll your neck, bringing your chin to your chest then finishing on your other shoulder. Do this three times. Then start with your head on your opposite shoulder and roll to the other side. Do this three times as well.

Upper Body:

Now get up slowly and sit on the edge of the bed. Inhale deeply (this helps oxygenate your muscles) and sit up straight. Looking forward, interlace your fingers and bring your arms up, palms down, toward the ceiling and reach up, keeping you back straight and chin up. Hold for 10 seconds. Then exhale, round your upper back as you bring your arms down, keeping them at chest level. Repeat this three times, inhaling and exhaling. Add shoulder rolls by sitting up straight, looking forward and extending your arms out and forming the letter “T.” Make 5-10 large circles while you breathe deeply in and out. Make sure you switch direction and do 5-10 more.

Now go get ’em, tiger!

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