We’ve all had those mornings when we’ve woken up feeling a little disjointed and needing a good stretch. Lying horizontally to get your full 8 hours increases joint and intravertebral disc pressure as well as reducing joint fluid lubrication (not to mention the weird and wonderful positions we find ourselves in when we wake), so being able to mobilse your body in the morning is important. Unfortunately, this is an evolutionary hazard, so we have compiled a list of a few basic stretches and techniques aimed at mobilising your body by reducing joint pressure and increasing fluid circulation. This will help you to shake off those morning blues and get limbered up and ready for the day! Keep an eye on our YouTube channel for a video showing these exercises in more detail coming soon!
Lumbar Opening Stretch
This stretch is perfect when first waking up and involves lying on your back with your shoulders on the floor. Slowly bend one knee up and rotate your lower back, bringing the bent knee across your body. You can apply some extra stretch with your hand but try and keep the opposite shoulder down to increase the stretch. This will really stretch you lower back and gluts (very underrated muscle group). Hold for 30 seconds in each direction.
Another lower back stretch that incorporates a bit more into the upper and lower body. Start in a four point kneel position, extending your arms forward and resting back onto your ankles. Once in this position, walk your hands in one direction (right or left) and you should feel an increased stretch into the opposite side of your lower back. Hold for 30 seconds in each direction.
Neck – Lateral Flexion Stretch
One to get the neck feeling fresh after a long night on the pillow. In a sitting position (with legs crossed for an extra glute stretch) bring your head sideways, moving your ear towards your shoulder. Once in this position, bring your corresponding arm over the top of your head and apply a gentle over pressure in the direction of the stretch. Make sure your opposite arm is relaxed and you should feel a gentle stretch into the opposite side of your neck and upper shoulder region. Hold for 30 seconds in each direction (you might be seeing a pattern here).
A nice one for that ever-underappreciated muscle group. Lying on your back, bend both knees up to a 90° angle. Cross one leg over the top of the opposite knee, resting the outside of the ankle area just above the knee joint. From here, bring the bent knee towards your chest until you feel a stretch into the glute area of the crossed over leg. You guessed it, hold for 30 seconds on each side!
Foam Rolling – Mid to Upper Back
Your mid back (or thoracic spine) is especially prone to becoming hunched during periods of prolonged sitting. Working into extension is a great way to maintain good mid back flexibility if you’re one of those people who are required to sit at a desk for most of the day. To correctly do this place a foam roller under your mid back and rest your weight down, bringing your arm across your body to isolate your mid back. Then slowly roll up and down your mid back while gently leaning back. Don’t be alarmed if you notice a few cracks, this is normal and just air releasing from the joints! A morning roll of 2-3 minutes should do the trick. Do you sit all day at a desk and feel sore when you finish? Here’s a quick video on how to set up your desk chair properly.