Muscles and joints can get stiff as a tree branch after a full night of sleep. If you feel a bit too lazy to get up and don’t want to start your day walking around like the Tin Man, invest five minutes of stretching in bed to wake up your brain and loosen up your body. Take several deep breaths with your belly before you start.
Lengthen Your Torso - Whether you sleep on your back or in the fetal position, lengthening your torso can help reduce the achy feeling in your neck and back. Various exercises that are derived from yoga will lengthen your back or abs. If you tend to sleep on your back, do Wind Relieving Pose, for which you bring your knees to your chest and your forehead toward your knees while lying in bed on your back. Cobra Pose can also be done to lengthen your abs. Do this by lying on your stomach with your palms on the bed by your shoulders and straightening your arms to lift your chest off the bed as high as you can. Then do the Child's Pose to lengthen your shoulders and back by sitting back on your heels and reaching your hands forward on the bed like a kneeling prayer position. You may even alternate between the latter two stretches to balance the front and back sides of your body.
Move Those Hips - Since your hips are one of the most used joints in your body, stretch them and your legs simultaneously in various directions. Start by rotating your hips side to side with your knees bent and your back on the bed. Then move on to your legs by doing active stretching with your hamstrings, quadriceps and calves. Active stretching is the lengthening of a muscle group by contracting its opposing muscle group, according to fitness professional Anoop Balachandran. For example, if you're stretching your hamstrings while lying on your back, tighten your quadriceps for a few seconds and relax. Repeat the contraction and relaxation method five to 10 times.
Before You Stand Up - When you sit at the edge of bed, there are a few exercises you can do to complete your morning ritual. Lace your fingers with your hands in front of your chest, and exhale as you raise them overhead. Inhale slowly as you lower your hands to the starting position. Repeat the movement pattern five or six times. Perform a couple of torso twists to your left and right, and you should feel much more energized before facing the day.
Expert Insight - Stretching doesn't always mean you must hold a muscle contraction for a period of time. In fact, holding a stretch decreases neural stimulation to your muscles which could decrease your strength, according to exercise physiologist Len Kravitz. Static stretching, as it is called, may even make you want to stay in bed. Therefore, active stretching is a better way to start your morning.