3 Upper Body Stretches You Should Do Every Morning
Waking up stiff in the morning is one of the worst ways to start your day. Here are some stretches I do daily to wake up my body.
I'm *one of those* that sleeps on my side and I'm fully aware of how bad that is. I think in general it's harder for girls to sleep on their backs, right? I mean we have back arches that make it nearly impossible to lay flat for more than like 5 minutes. I know you can invest in those weird shaped pillows but let's be honest... I'm not gonna do it LOL.
So as a "shoulder sleeper" I wake up literally stiff every morning. I used to just think I'd loosen up throughout the day but then I started noticing just general shoulder pain so me being the smart person I am, I decided to not do anything about it for a very long time LOL. Soon, it became worse. My aunt used to have shoulder issues, so she advised that I start doing some basic exercises and stretches every morning when I wake up and you best believe I did. This quickly became an everyday thing. I notice a significant difference when I don't do my stretches vs when I do even to this day. This post isn't just for those that suffer from shoulder stiffness so I'm going to write out a list of 3 general upper body stretches you should do in the morning just to loosen up your body and prepare yourself for the day.
Before I start, I'd like to say that these feel MUCH better when you do it on the ground or on a hard surface. I've attempted doing it in my bed because yes, I am THAT lazy but it just doesn't hit the same, you know? If you have a yoga mat, even better. Otherwise, I'll layer up a towel or two and do my stretches on there. Either way, try to avoid doing these in your bed.
1. Child's Pose
This one is simple and feels incredible. Kneel on your knees and sit on your heels. Place your knees about hip-width apart and lay your body down so your stomach rests between and on your thighs. Extend your arms straight forward in front of you and try resting your forehead on the ground. I like to do this for about 1 minute, adjusting at around 30 seconds. This pose helps stretch out your spine along with many other benefits for your back.
2. Cow Face Pose
This one can be a little more challenging for those that aren't too flexible, but there are ways to still get the stretch in without having to push your body. Start by sitting up straight and crossing one leg over the other so your knees are touching. Whichever leg is at the top is going to be the arm that rests on your upper back. For this example, we're going to assume the right leg is on top. Put your right arm straight up and bend it back at the elbow so your palm is resting on your upper back. Then, take your left arm and extend it straight out the your left so your thumb is facing down. Bend your arm and bring back to rest on your back and try reaching for your right hand. The goal is to lock your hands together. If you find this difficult, take a rag or piece of clothing and let it dangle from your right hand. The goal is to hold onto that rag with your left hand. Get the full stretch in and switch sides after about 30 seconds. This helps with opening up the chest, shoulders, and arms.
3. Cat and Cow Pose
Get into position by resting on your hands by placing them shoulder-width apart and on your knees by placing them hip-width apart. For a cow pose, you want to inhale as you're lifting your head up and curving your stomach towards the ground. For a cat pose, you want to do the opposite, where your back is rounding up towards the ceiling. You should be inhaling as your head goes up in the cow pose and exhaling as you shift your body into cat pose. These two poses are great for back and neck stiffness.
I have a couple more exercises and stretches that I do but if you're running low on time or just getting started, then these are the perfect ones to start your daily routine. If you feel stiffness in your legs, stay tuned for part 2 of this post! If you have injuries, please be sure to be extremely careful if you choose to try new stretches out and check with a doctor if these could benefit your recovery in any way. It's also important to do any additional research when trying new poses to make sure your positioning is correct and you can align your breathing with these exercises. Try these out for the next couple weeks and see if it makes a difference. If it does, go you! Also, shout out to Spotebi for these photos and check them out for more posts on exercises and fitness for women. They're amazzzzzzzzzzzinnnggg!!