My Morning Stretch Routine
Do you ever wake up in the morning feeling sluggish, achy or tight?
You can start your day right with this quick morning stretch routine — in just five minutes you’ll be feeling awake and ready to go!
Starting your day by checking in with your body and releasing any tension from sleep means that you can start on the right foot — even if you got out the ‘wrong side of the bed’.
Stretches to do in the morning
I like to have a glass of water first thing in the morning after my stretch routine because it helps to rehydrate my body and kickstart my metabolism, Then I find it’s not until mid-morning that I’ll need a coffee!
Try these stretches and mobility exercises for yourself.
If you’ve woken up with a stiff neck, start your day with this simple exercise to loosen any tension.
How to do a neck rotation:
1. With your arms by your sides, plant both feet on the floor slightly further than shoulder width apart. This is your starting position. Gently rotate your neck to bring your chin towards your right shoulder.
2. Gently rotate your neck to return to starting position. Repeat, rotating your chin towards your left shoulder.
Continue alternating between right and left.
This stretch opens the chest and shoulders, helping to counter the effects of hunching over a phone, working at a desk or driving a car.
Here’s how to do it:
1. Plant both feet on the floor slightly further than shoulder width apart.
2. Bring your hands together behind your body and interlock your fingers.
3. Gently extend your arms and pull your hands away from your body. This should cause your shoulders to retract and open up your chest.
This stretch releases tension from the side of your body. It targets the lats, obliques, shoulders and inner thighs.
You can do this stretch in the morning to open up your side body, holding it for 30 seconds to release tension.
1. Begin in a seated position. Bend your knees and position your feet together firmly on the mat. Using your left hand, tuck your left leg behind you so that your shin and the top of your foot is resting on the mat. Release your right leg and place your shin and the outside of your right foot on the mat, resting your foot on the inside of your left thigh. Release your left arm and rest your hand on your left foot. This is your starting position.
2. Lengthen your spine to sit up tall and reach your right arm towards the ceiling.
Stretching your back when you sit or stand a lot can help to release tightness.
This mobility exercise warms up your spine as it moves through its range of movement. Exhale as you tilt your pelvis and enter the ‘Cat’ pose, and inhale as you tuck your tailbone to enter ‘Cow’ pose.
1. Start on all fours on a yoga mat. Ensure that your knees are below your hips and your hands are below your shoulders. Set your spine in a neutral position and draw your shoulder blades down and back. This is your starting position.
2. Lift your chin and allow your stomach to sink towards the floor. Create space between your shoulders and ears by drawing your shoulder blades down and back. This is called Cow.
3. Press your hands and knees into the mat, draw your chin to your chest and draw your stomach in to curl your spine. This is called Cat.
Return to neutral spine and repeat.
Wide child’s pose
This pose gently stretches the hips, thighs and shoulders. It’s a gentle stretch you can do in the morning to increase your range of motion.
1. Start in the centre of your mat on all fours — ensuring that your shoulders are stacked over your hands and your hips are over your knees, toes untucked.
Draw your toes together and widen your knees. Draw your glutes towards your heels and lower your torso towards the mat. Extend your arms along the mat, resting your head on the mat between your arms. Create space between your shoulders and ears by drawing your shoulder blades down and back. This is called Wide Child’s Pose.
Side-lying quad stretch
You won’t need to balance to do this quad stretch — which is helpful if you are still waking up first thing in the morning!
This stretch targets the quadriceps and also provides a stretch for the hip flexors. It’s perfect for the morning after doing leg exercises.
Here’s how to do it:
1. Begin laying on your left side on a yoga mat with your legs extended out.
2. Release your right leg and draw your foot towards your bottom. Using your right hand, hold your foot so that your right leg is behind you with your foot close to your bottom.
3. Ensure that your right quad is parallel with your left quad. You should feel the stretch on the front of your right thigh. Hold this position, breathing deeply throughout.
4. Repeat this stretch on the other side.
If you’ve been working hard to strengthen your glutes in the gym, you might wake up feeling stiff and sore. Include this stretch in your morning routine to release tightness.
1. Start by lying flat on your back on a yoga mat. Bend your knees and position your feet firmly on the mat, ensuring that they are hip-width apart and your spine is in a neutral position.
2. Release and turn out your right leg so that your ankle is resting on your left leg just above your knee.
3. Draw your left knee in towards your torso, resting both hands on the back of your left thigh.
4. Hold this position, breathing deeply throughout.
5. Each time that you exhale, draw your knee further into your chest and press your right elbow into your right knee to increase the stretch, ensuring that your spine remains in a neutral position and your tailbone on the floor.
6. Repeat this stretch on the other side.
Your hip flexors act in conjunction with your glutes to move your legs — they are impacted when you train, sit or stand.
Use this stretch to release tight hip flexors, and remember to stretch your glutes as well, to release tight hips.
1. Begin in a kneeling position on a yoga mat.
Release your left leg and take one large step forwards so that you are in a lunge position, as shown. Ensure that your front knee is not further forward than your toe. If it is, then you will need to take a bigger step forward.
2. Keeping your torso upright, push your hips forwards so that you feel a stretch along the front of your right leg. Hold this position.
3. Repeat this stretch with your right leg forward.
Energise your mornings with this five-minute stretch routine
A morning stretch routine like this one can help to improve circulation, as well as increase your flexibility and range of motion. It’s just one small change you can make to improve your day.
Building healthier habits doesn’t have to be overwhelming — it’s as easy as making a five-minute change!
What part of your morning routine energises your day? Share your tips in the comments!
* Results may vary. Strict adherence to the nutrition and exercise guide are required for best results.