Nothing beats a good night’s sleep, but getting your shut-eye also has some drawbacks. Sleeping relaxes your muscles, slows your blood flow, and decreases your heart rate. Stretches can help get you ready for the day.
If you stay in one sleeping position all night, your muscles are likely to tighten up, resulting in soreness when you wake up. You already stretch your legs and arms by instinct when you wake up, but a gentle stretching routine is a must-have if you want to feel even better.
Stretching improves your flexibility, improves your posture, and relieves stress. Here are eleven gentle stretches which can be done by most people, including seniors preparing for an exercise.
Start your routine with stretches you can easily do while still lying in bed. You don’t have to do all these stretches — just do two or three of them.
1. Spinal twist
Raise your knees while lying on your back. Move your knees over to the other side while making sure both of your shoulders remain on the bed. Stretch one of your arms out to the side while keeping it level with your shoulders. Then, slowly turn your head to face the arm you’re stretching. This should stretch the sides of your upper body and lower back. Make sure you feel comfortable before stretching your arm to the maximum.
2. Cobra stretch
Lie prone on the bed and lift your upper body with your arms until you’re lying on your stomach. Keep your hands flat below your shoulders while also keeping your hips and groin on the bed. Relax your neck and shoulders. Then, hold the position for 15 to 20 seconds before gently lowering back down.
3. Knees-to-chest stretch
While lying on your back, gently raise one knee toward your chest as far as possible. Hold your knee with your hands and take deep breaths. Keep this stretch for 15 to 20 seconds before repeating it with your other leg.
4. Knee roll stretch
Do this stretch on an exercise mat or a firm bed. While lying on your back with your feet flat on the bed, slowly move your knees from one side to the other. Stretch as much as you feel comfortable with and make sure one foot stays in contact with the bed at all times.
Now that your blood is flowing, you should feel better sitting up. The sitting stretches below should make you feel even better and prepare you to leave your bed.
5. Upper back stretch
This stretch can be done while sitting on the edge of your bed or while standing. Making sure your feet are flat on the floor, interlock your fingers and stretch them forward while bending from your middle back. You can also stretch your hands forward at shoulder level. You should feel the stretch between your shoulder blades.
6. Neck stretch
This stretch can also be done sitting or standing. First, relax your shoulders. Move your left ear toward your left shoulder gently while using your left arm to assist. Stop stretching if it starts to feel uncomfortable. Hold the stretch for 15 to 20 seconds and repeat it on the other side.
7. Shoulder stretch
With your shoulder blades relaxed, reach one arm across your body and slowly use your other arm to extend the stretch. Hold this position for 15 to 20 seconds before repeating it on the other side.
Now that you’ve stretched most of your body, you can move on to standing stretches. Do these stretches on even flooring to avoid injuries.
8. Vertical stand
While standing, stretch your arms above your head as far as possible. Hold this position as long as it’s comfortable while taking deep and slow breaths.
9. Side stretch
Stretch your left arm straight above your head. Grip your left wrist with your right hand and gently pull your left arm to the other side while also leaning your body slightly. Your left arm should be above your left ear. Make sure your knees are not bent and you’re taking deep breaths. When you feel you’ve stretched enough, repeat it with your right arm.
10. Core stretch
Place your right foot slightly forward. Then, twist your body as far as it’s comfortable. Remain in this position for a while, taking deep breaths. Repeat the motion, this time with your left foot forward.
11. Quad stretch
For this stretch, you can hold onto the wall or a chair if you need to. First, keep your feet hip-width apart. With your left hand, reach back and grab your left foot. Keep your thighs level with each other, your left foot aligned with your hip. Remember to take deep breaths. Repeat with your right arm and leg.
These stretches are basic, but they should be sufficient to prepare your body for your daily tasks or more strenuous activities such as pool exercises.
While there are dozens of stretches you can do, the ones above are the easiest to pull off, and they won’t even require you to leave your bedroom.