Whether you have arthritis or general joint pain and stiffness in the morning, gentle stretches may help to kick start your day.
Evidence shows that exercise and stretching help increase blood flow and oxygen, increase joints’ range of motion, boost physical function as well as enhance mental wellbeing.
If you often wake up feeling stiff or in pain, you should practice these five easy stretches to loosen up and relax.
1. Gentle supine twists
It is common to wake up in the morning to tight muscles in your lower back after a night in bed.
Gentle supine twists help relieve stiffness in the spine while breathing deeply will gently wake you up.
· Start by lying on your back with legs straight and arms stretched out to the sides.
· Then, keep your right knee bent over your left leg, twisting at the hip. With your head turned in the opposite direction of your bent leg, make sure your shoulders remain flat on the floor.
· Take two to four deep breaths, and relax on exhalation.
· Repeat on the other side.
2. Hamstring stretches
This stretch can help loosen-up your lower back muscles, hamstrings, hips, knees, and ankles.
· Lie on your back with legs extended and draw your right knee up toward the chest.
· Hold the back of the leg (either above or below the knee) by both hands and extend the right foot up toward the ceiling.
· Pull the leg closer to the chest and begin making a big slow circle by rotating the ankle.
· Take five long, slow, deep breaths as you ease deeper into the stretch.
· Repeat for the left side.
3. Thread the needle
This stretch helps release morning tension in the neck and shoulders.
· Begin on the floor in a child’s pose; with your head close or on the floor and arms outstretched in front of you.
· Then take your right arm and slide it underneath your left armpit, with your palm facing upwards. Your head should face the side of the palm.
· Take a deep breath and hold this pose for 10 seconds.
· Repeat on the opposite side.
4. Seated side stretches
This easy stretch will help open the hips, back, shoulders, and triceps.
· Cross your legs in a seated position.
· Bend slightly into the left arm and extend your right arm above your head as you inhale. Once your arms are extended, exhale.
· Make sure that your pelvic bones are not raised, and you should feel a stretch through your right side.
· Switch sides after holding on for 10 seconds
5. Cow pose to cat pose
These two classic yoga poses help warm the spine and activate the core.
· Begin by kneeling on your hands and knees. As the name implies, the cow pose involves arching your back while the cat pose involves rounding your back.
· Make sure that you inhale to arch your back and that your belly is lowered towards the ground. Keep your neck long in cow pose.
· Cat pose can be achieved by exhaling as you round your spine, with your pelvis tucked and chin drawn towards your chest.
· Alternate between cow and cat pose for eight full rounds of breath.
This article first appeared in hellodoktor.com and was reviewed by Panel Perubatan Hello Doktor. The Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.