To start you day off right, a chiropractor says you should give your body a good stretch before you anything else. “Stretching in the morning helps warm the body up for the day. It gets your muscles used to moving and helps support normal joint movement, setting you up to move well through the rest of your morning,” says Steven Knauf, DC, the executive director of chiropractic and compliance at The Joint Chiropractic.
If you neglect morning stretches, you’ll wind up with all-over tightness that can lead to pain and even injuries. And while there’s no bad time to stretch, dealing with any problem areas early can benefit the rest of your day. “Stretching is especially important for people who have less than ideal sleeping conditions,” says Dr. Knauf. “It can help people who frequently wake up with aches and pains.”
Start your day off right by following the good doc’s morning routine comprised of three easy stretches.
The 3 morning stretches a chiropractor swears by
1. Chest stretch
If you’re stuck at a desk 24/7, this morning stretch is a must. “It can help alleviate stress to your neck and upper back often caused by frequent sitting throughout the day,” says Dr. Knauf.
- Raise both arms until they’re level with your shoulders and out from your body to make a T-shape.
- Lean through a door frame with your hands and arms pushing against the wall while your body leans forward through the door, creating a stretch in the front of your chest.
2. Hip flexors stretch
Another great stretch is this feel-good option for your hip flexors. “It helps loosen up the muscles that are often tightened from sitting all day,” says Dr. Knauf.
- Using a chair or dresser for balance, bend one knee and grab the ankle behind your thigh.
- Push your hip slightly forward on that side to feel a stretch in the front of your hip.
- Repeat on the opposite side.
3. Calves stretch
There are many reasons why this morning stretch is a good idea. “Restoring calf flexibility is great for alleviating foot stiffness or pain—especially if you’re on your feet all day,” Dr. Knauf says. “It’s also great if you’re frequently having to wear shoes with little to no support.”
- Place the ball of your foot against a wall with your heel on the floor.
- Begin leaning forward to feel a stretch in the calf on that side.
- Repeat on the opposite leg.
When you have more time, try this 20-minute full-body stretch routine:
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