Our current focus is all about morning effectiveness – winning the morning so that you win your day. So far we have discussed effective bedtime routines, the surprising benefits of a cold shower, and ways to begin a simple meditation practice. This week we help your body get started by spending a few minutes of your morning stretching your body.
I’m keeping this basic since many of you in the Personal Kaizen community are already stretching regularly and are more experienced than me in this area. The key is to make stretching a regular habit.
Start Stretching with an App
I have researched books and apps for stretching and have settled on one basic iPhone app that doesn’t cost money (many of the apps are free only for a week and then require a subscription) or track my personal data. The “Start Stretching” app is basic but contains some simple stretches with illustrations and a customizable timer.
I don’t have an Android device but this app seems to be popular on that platform for stretching. Readers: please leave a recommendation in the comments for a good stretching app for Android devices.
I complete the full stretching program on the Start Stretching app (with an extra stretch of my back added at the end) and it takes me a total of seven minutes. The problem with this 7-minute routine is I often feel like I don’t have that amount of time available. I recently developed a simpler routine that I can complete every morning – without excuse. If I have more time I complete the 7-minute routine, but at least I can always do three quick stretches!
Three Simple Stretches
If you ever feel too rushed for morning stretching here is a 1-2 minute routine of just three stretches. I suggest you do this while you are waiting (for your shower to warm up, for your breakfast to cook, etc.)
The first “good morning” stretch should be done on both the left and right sides. Transition to the cat-cow yoga stretch for your back and spine and end with a short downward dog yoga pose. You can read about these stretches and more here.
Try this routine or feel free to create your own simple routine. Do these stretches while facing the sun for mood-enhancing benefits!
Benefits of Regular Morning Stretching
A simple stretching routine keeps our bodies operating properly (see Rule 2 of the Personal Kaizen 10 Rules for Life). Here are a few of the benefits of regular stretching:
- Decreased muscle stiffness
- Increased range of motion
- Reduced risk of injury
- Improved posture
- Decreased risk of lower back pain
- Reduced stress
- Increased circulation
One last tip: don’t stretch your body without lubrication! The human body is about 60% water and we lose some of this sleeping at night.
Begin your morning with a tall glass of water to keep the tissues in your body moist, help protect the spinal cord, and act as a lubricant and cusTry hion for your joints. If you are a coffee lover (like me) wait until later in the morning for your first cup. Start your day with water!
We hope you will start to begin your day with a tall glass of water and a quick stretch. Let us know what stretching routine works best for you in the comments below.