Yoga

Morning Stretches To Boost Mobility If Your Neck, Back, and Hips Ache First Thing When You Wake Up

Kells McPhillips

Photo: Getty Images/Westend61
A good night’s sleep is worth its weight in gold, but the resulting tightness you feel from said eight-hour snooze in the sheets? Well, not so much. On the days when you roll out of bed feeling like your body’s made of metal beams, a simple morning stretch routine can help you limber up before you’ve even brewed your coffee. Scroll down for the best morning stretches.

You can blame your a.m. stiffness on one thing in particular, says Jeff Brannigan, program director at Stretch*d, a recovery-focused studio based in New York City. “In the morning, we often feel tense and tight because our bodies are stuck in the same position for hours on end as we sleep,” said Brannigan. “Try beginning your day with a few active stretches to lengthen the muscle and reduce tension by promoting circulation to the area.” Yes, you read that right: Even the best pillow in the world can’t prevent you from waking up feeling like you’re the Tin Man.

Lengthening your muscles doesn’t just lead to looser limbs, however. According to Brannigan, stretching first thing is also an investment in a better mood later on. "Stretching helps aid in the production of endorphins that lead to better relaxation and productivity,” he says. “If you're feeling especially stressed or burnt out, a five- to 10-minute stretching routine can do wonders for your mental well-being.”

Say “good morning” to your body with a few stretching-focused videos from our favorite teachers around. (PS: Getting out of bed for these is 100 percent optional.)

5 videos that will make morning stretches a breeze

20-minute flow to prevent burnout


Hop on your yoga mat with BK Yoga Club co-founder Alicia Ferguson for twenty, blissful morning minutes. This thorough-yet-fast class hits on every nook and cranny of the body.

8-minute mobility flow


If you’re seeking something energetic first thing, join trainer Ashley Joi for this faster-paced mobility routine. She’ll have you in and out in less than 10.

15-minute foam roller massage


Learning your way around a foam roller is an instant upgrade to any stretching routine—just ask Chloe de Winter of Go Chlo Pilates. Queue up this video to start working on those deep, deep tissues. You’ll thank yourself later.

20-minute yoga class for shoulder tension


If you wake up with an unhappy neck, Nike trainer Traci Copeland has an express routine for relieving some of that unwanted tension. Perhaps even better, Copeland keeps her socks on for the entirety of this flow—and we highly recommend you do, too.

30-minute restorative flow for tired muscles


Still feeling bent out of shape from yesterday’s run? No problem. Build yourself a fortress of props (I’m talking bolster, blocks, strap… the works) and let BK Yoga Club founder Paris Alexander be your guide through this half-hour class.

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