Morning Stretching Exercises

1
Stretches to Help You Get Moving

Photo of a woman performing the upward dog yoga position.
The prone press up is an exercise that may help your low back pain or sciatica. David Lees/ Getty Images

Stretching in the morning is a great way to "waken" up your muscles, and get them ready for the day. Stretching losens up your body while increasing blood flow to your muscles.
Incorporating morning stretches into your daily routine is a positive way to begin each day. Click on the links below to learn an easy and effective morning stretch exercise program.

Before starting this, or any other exercise program, check in with your doctor to ensure that exercise is safe for you to do. Stop any exercise that causes pain.

Start your morning protecting your back by doing the prone press up exercise. This is a type of McKenzie exercise that helps to keep your back in a good position to start your day. Lie on your stomach with your hands in a push-up position. Relax your back and hips, and slowly press your upper body up, allowing your back to arch. Hold this position for 2 seconds, and then release. Repeat 10 times.

2
Morning Stretch for Lumbar Flexion

Photo of a person bending forward.
The lumbar flexion stretch to stretch you back. Photo © Dr. Laura Inverarity

To gently stretch your low back, perform the seated lumbar flexion exercise. This is a perfect stretch if you have spinal stenosis.

  • Sit on the edge of your bed with your feet on the floor.
  • Bend over, reaching your hands toward your feet.
  • Arch your back.
  • Hold for a count of 10.
  • Repeat 5 more times.

You must be careful with this stretch if you have a bulging or herniated disc in your spine. This exercise may place increased stress on your disc, causing significant pain. If that happens, stop the exercise and check in with your doctor right away.

3
Morning Stretch for Neck Mobility

Stretch 2. Photo © Dr. Laura Inverarity

A simple way to get your neck moving is with the neck rotation stretch. Here is how you do it:

  1. Remain seated on the edge of your bed with your feet on the floor.
  2. Rotate your neck in a circle, touching your ears to your shoulders.
  3. Rotate slowly in a clockwise direction 5 times.
  4. Rotate slowly in a counter clockwise direction 5 times.

4
Shoulder Shrugs

Photo of sweaty man stretching with a towel.
You can use a towel or strap to improve flexibility. Adrianna Williams/Getty Images

Get your shoulders loose with the seated shoulder shrug, like this:

  1. Remain seated on the edge of your bed with your feet on the floor.
  2. Shrug your shoulders up to your ears.
  3. Repeat 10 more times.

5
Morning Shoulder Stretches

Stretch 4. Photo © Dr. Laura Inverarity

Keep your rotator cuff and shoulders healthy with the overhead shoulder stretch. Here's how:

  1. Stand next to your bed.
  2. Lace your fingers together.
  3. Raise your hands above your head, palms upward.
  4. Lift up stretching your rib cage.
  5. Hold for a count of 10.
  6. Repeat 5 more times.

Be sure to watch for any pinching or painful sensations in your shoulders as you do this. If you feel shoulder pain while stretching, stop the exercise immediately.

Bonus: Shoulder Rotation Stretch with a Towel

6
Standing Lumbar Flexion Stretch

Lumbar flexion in standing.
You can perform lumbar flexion in standing to improve your spinal mobility and stretch your hamstrings. ©Brett Sears, PT, 2013

Stretch out your back with the standing lumbar stretch. Here's how:

  1. Remain stading next to your bed.
  2. Bend over and touch your fingers to your toes while keeping your knees straight.
  3. Hold for a count of 10.
  4. Repeat 5 more times.

It's always a good idea to bend backwards a couple times after bending forwards. Do a few reps of the standing back bend after the bending forward exercise.

7
Standing Quad Stretch

Photo of a young woman stretch her thigh.
You can stretch your quads just about anywhere. Cultura RM Exlcusive/Jordan Lutes/Getty

To stretch your quadriceps muscles in the front of your thighs, stand up and hold onto something stable. Bend one knee up and grab your ankle with one hand. Hold your leg up for 15 seconds. Repeat 3 times.

Now you should be all stretched out and ready to start your day.

Continue Reading