You don't have to devote much time to it, 5 minutes at the most, but even one minute will be beneficial. Stretching in bed, before you get up to start the day, helps to warm up your body, your muscles and ligaments. Gets your blood flowing and can help reduce stiffness from arthritis, tight muscles and some injuries. It gives you mind and body a few extra moments to transition from sleep and recovery to total awareness. I start every day with a few simple stretches and I can definitely tell a difference in my first few steps of the morning if I don't.
Here are a few simple stretches to get you going:
1. start by stretching your legs out straight and pointing and flexing your feet a few times. Simultaneously, reach your arms above your head to stretch both ways.
2. Keep your left leg straight and pull your right knee tight into your chest, hold for a few seconds, then switch legs.
3. Pull both knees into your chest and sway side to side to loosen your back.
4. To loosen the spin, do a spinal twist on each side: bending one leg and crossing it over the other while stretching your arm out straight the other way.
5. On your stomach, move into a cobra pose - legs and pelvis on the bed, arms out slightly in front of you, push up on forearms and arch your back slightly. This is a great stretch for abs, chest and neck and increases back flexibility.
6. Lastly, sit up in bed and finish with a butterfly stretch to loosen up the hips and thigh muscles.
Now, you're ready to start the day!
I also end each day with a few simple stretches since my muscles have undoubtedly become tight and tired throughout the day. This series usually includes a few forward bends, resting my foot on the bed with leg stretched straight and touching my toes, and a few side bends. Simple, takes less than 5 minutes, but loosens me up and calms my heart rate down so I'm (usually) able to fall asleep quickly.
Okay, before I sign off I wanted to share two articles with you because I don't want to wait until 5 for Friday.
1. This is an opinion piece by Eric Schlosser (Food, Inc) that ran in last Sunday's New York Times. If you care at all about the quality of the food you eat, chances are you'll be interested in this article (and perhaps a little scared, as well). Click HERE to read "Unhealthy at Any Meal."
2. Another food related article. You may have heard about this on the news today, but it was ESPN's "Outside The Lines" that reported on a study of health inspections at 107 North American arenas and stadiums. The results are not very good. I guess the moral of the story is: eat at your own risk. And if something doesn't look right, don't eat it! Click HERE for the video and story.
Do you stretch in the morning or at night?
workout stats -
3x10 cable pull twists
3x10 cable pull pushdowns
3x10 overhead extensions
3x10 tricep extensions
3x10 tricep dips
foam roller & stretching