By Laura Briggs
We all know the importance of a good stretch before and after exercise, but it’s good to wake up with a stretch too – to start you off on the right foot.
Starting your day with a stretch ensures that you protect your body against injury and there are some simple stretches you can do to get your body working at its best.
- When you get out of bed, gently start with a calf stretch. With your legs shoulder length apart, place your hands on the wall and keep your heels on the ground and lean into the wall with your knees straight. Do 3-5 sets for around 30 seconds.
- Next up, ready your quadriceps for the day ahead. With feet together and your hips straight bend your right knee back and take the front of your right foot in your right hand. Keep your body straight as you hold and complete 3-5 sets for 30 seconds.
- Prepare for lifting and reaching by giving yourself a shoulder stretch. Standing shoulder width apart, raise one arm to shoulder height and move it across the front of your body. Use the other arm to pull it into your chest and hold. Do this for both arms for 30 seconds, 3-5 times.
- Keeping your triceps well-oiled can be achieved by raising your right arm above your head. Bend your elbow so the right hand is reaching your left shoulder. Use the left hand to pull back the right elbow. Do this for both arms. Again, 3-5 times for 30 seconds is optimal.
- Runners will appreciate this next stretch – Sit on the floor with one foot tucked in and the other leg straight. Lean forward and try to reach the foot of the straight leg. If you can’t quite grab your foot, lean forward until you can feel the stretch through the hamstring. Do this 3-5 times for 30 seconds.
- Good for the hip flexors and groin, sit down with both soles of your feet together. Your knees will start pointing up, but using the weight of your elbows gently push down until you feel the groin being stretched. Do this 3-5 times for 30 seconds a time.
- Finally, to complete your morning stretches, stand up and take one hand over your head with the other hand. Gently lean to the side while pulling on the hand gently to engage the muscles between the ribs. How many times? You guessed it – 3-5 times for 30 seconds each!