Want to know the secret to a long and healthy life? So do we! Though, is a good diet, regular moderate exercise, strong social connections, a positive mental outlook and … morning stretches. Stretching for five or ten minutes in the morning can work wonders for your spinal health. And, as part of Chiropractic community, we know that a strong spine is also crucial for long-term wellbeing and vitality.
The importance of stretching in the morning
A few simple stretches are a fantastic way to kickstart your morning with gentle movement. Getting stretchy in the a.m. helps to increase blood flow, loosen tight muscles, and improve flexibility in your back. All things that can lead to better posture and reduced discomfort throughout the day. Morning stretching can also reduce the risk of inflammation and injury. This is because early morning movement lubricates your joints and strengthens your muscles, getting them ready to work. Last, but definitely not least, stretching helps to activate the parasympathetic nervous system. It gives your body and mind an energy boost and helping to relieve anxiety and nervous tension.
What is pandiculation?
Just as an aside, the stretching you do very first thing in the morning, often accompanied by a yawn, is a process involving the nervous system called pandiculation. The act involves a stretching and stiffening – especially of the trunk and extremities – and then a softening. You’ll see cats and dogs do this upon waking, too, as a way of preparing their muscles for immediate fight or flight action. For humans, it helps us to wake up and head to the shower!
Stretches for beginners
When starting a new stretching routine, it is best to start simple. So we’ve included a few basic options here to get you moving in the morning. Of course, when it comes to visual assistance with your stretches, the internet is your oyster. Search YouTube for things like ‘gentle morning stretches’ or ‘easy morning stretches for beginners’, and you’ll have a wealth of options for guidance.
Upper back stretch
Let’s start sitting, shall we? Sit on the edge of your bed with your feet flat on the floor. Lock your thumbs together and reach forward, bending from your middle back, tucking your chin, and feeling the stretch between your shoulder blades. Hold this stretch for ten seconds.
Relax your shoulders away from your ears, then gently move your left ear towards your left shoulder. You can use your left hand to help the stretch if that feels good, but don’t force anything and don’t move beyond the range of comfort. Hold for ten seconds and slowly repeat on the other side.
You’re going to have to get up for this one, but it’s a great option for people stuck at a desk for long periods of time. Stand beside a door frame with a straight back and your stomach muscles engaged. Bring your arm up against the wall with the elbow and shoulder bent at 90 degrees, then draw the opposite shoulder back, followed by your torso in a straight line. Try and hold this one for thirty seconds and repeat on the opposite side.
Hip flexor stretch
This is another great stretch for people who spend a lot of time sitting. Have a chair nearby for balance, in case you need it, then bend one knee and take hold of your ankle behind your thigh. Stretch the front of your hip by pushing your hip forward slightly on that side. Hold this stretch for five to ten seconds, then repeat on the other side.
For people who spend more time standing during the day, foot pain can be relieved by restoring calf flexibility. For this stretch, stand facing a wall and put your heel on the floor and the ball of your foot up against the wall. Lean forward to feel the stretch in the calf on that side, hold for five to ten seconds, then repeat on the opposite leg.
Pair your morning stretches with a Northcote Chiropractic appointment
By taking just a few minutes each morning to stretch your joints and muscles, you will set the tone for a day filled with energy and ease. And by combining these stretches with chiropractic adjustments, you’ll be set to take on the world!
The crew at Northcote Health and Wellness are proud to serve the communities of Northcote, Carlton, Thornbury, Fairfield, Alphington, Abbotsford, Ivanhoe, Brunswick, Fitzroy, Eaglemont and surrounds. We’re here to help you with Chiropractic care and plenty of post-care exercise and stretching options and tips.
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☎️ (03) 8899 6370