4 stretches to do before you get out of bed!
By Lee Ajzenman, Physiotherapist and Lauren Charlton, Physiotherapist
Chilly mornings call for a little longer under the doona… but rather than reach for your phone to mindlessly squint and scroll, why not try these four easy stretches that can be done from the comfort of your own bed!
Your body and mind will reward you for it.
Before you rise and shine, try these movements for just 10 seconds each or as long as your body asks for. Just don’t be late for work!
1. Pelvic tilts:
How? Lay on your back with your knees bent, feet flat and hip width apart. Your hands can be by your sides, on your hips or tummy (or holding your phone to check your emails if you reeeeeally have to!). Make sure your head feels supported by your pillow so that your gaze is directly at the ceiling above. This will keep your neck in a good, supported position.
Feel the ‘natural curves’ in your spine… the weight of the head, mid/upper back and pelvis, and the lightness in the natural curves of your neck and lower back.
Now imagine you’re sliding your fingers underneath your lower back (arch your lower back) and then gently press your lower back onto your fingers (flatten your lower back) – you may feel your tummy muscles working gently during this part. This is called a pelvic tilt, or flexing and extending your lumbar spine. Aim to repeat these movements smoothly, inhaling as you ‘arch’ your back, and exhaling as you ‘flatten’ your back.
Why? Smooth lumbar flexion and extension helps with lots of different movements throughout
your day, like bending over or moving between sitting and standing.
2. Hip twists:
How? Lay on your back with your knees bent but have your knees and feet together. Gently rock the knees (together) to one side and then the other to feel a gentle stretch around the waist and spine.
Why? Our body is designed to gently twist!
3. Book opens:
How? Start by laying on your side with both knees bent and hips stacked one on top of the other, with your head supported by your pillow. Have both your hands out in front of you resting on top of each other. Take your top arm and open it up to the ceiling, opening through the chest, and gently twisting through your spine. Make sure you don’t roll your hips too! Bring your arm back, closing the top arm back on the bottom arm, take a cleansing breath in, and repeat. Do both sides.
Why? Same as above, this will make rotating your body throughout the day easier!
4. Playful puppy:
How? Press up onto your hands and knees, sink your chest down to the bed, reach your fingertips out in front of you and stick your bottom up to the ceiling. Imagine a lead weight is attached to your sternum (the front of your chest) so you stretch between your shoulder blades in your back. You may notice that you look like, well … a playful puppy ready to pounce! Wag your tail if you are so inclined.
Why? This helps you stretch your thoracic spine, the mid to upper back region between your shoulder blades especially. We get so tight here with our daily activities and reducing stiffness here can even result in reduced neck pain and better shoulder mobility.
Last updated: September 9, 2020 at: 6:27 pm