10 of the Best Morning Stretches to Start Your Day

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We all know and love that glorious feeling of our first stretch after getting out of bed, but morning stretches can offer a huge range of benefits above just waking up tired muscles.

While both humans and animals will instinctively stretch after waking up, a planned stretch session is even better for your body and mind.

Benefit of Morning Stretches

A morning stretch session feels good and offers a range of physical and mental health benefits. Stretching in the morning can help increase blood flow, ease anxiety symptoms, and improve your posture. 

Lying in the same position overnight can lead to tight muscles and stiff joints, and a morning stretch can help warm them. It’s normal to feel stiff and achy first thing in the morning, so a good stretch can help you to feel more awake.

If you regularly find yourself overwhelmed by a never-ending to-do list, a morning stretch can be incredibly beneficial. Focusing on your body and working through various postures can offer you a few minutes of calm before you start the day.

You’ll finish your session feeling energised and present, capable of tackling anything the day throws at you!

Sitting at a desk all day can be very bad for your posture. Often those who hunch over a computer or laptop for hours each day have very poor posture, which can lead to aches, pains and niggles.

This morning stretching routine will target your entire body, opening your chest and encouraging your shoulders to drop and stretch your back muscles.

Old man practices morning stretches.
Stretching helps relieve tight muscles and stiff joints

Spend a few minutes each day flexing and stretching these muscles, and you may find your posture improves.

Finally, stretching is a great form of exercise – but it doesn’t really feel like exercise! While early birds may feel compelled to head out for a jog first thing, some of us can barely make it out of bed without a coffee!

A short stretch is a great way to incorporate exercise into your morning routine, without putting too much pressure on yourself. You’ll have more energy during the day, and you’ll also benefit from increased strength and flexibility.

Morning Stretch Routine

A sun salutation routine targets all your main muscle groups, and it’s suitable for both beginners and experienced yogis.

Modifications can be made if you find any of the stretches too tough at first, and as your body warms up you should find you’re able to move deeper into the stretch. 

Step 1 : Start the routine standing straight with your feet together and your palms pressed together at your chest.
Spend a few seconds focusing on your breath, feeling the rise and fall of your chest. It’s important to move through the routine slowly and consciously, flowing with your breath.
Morning Stretches - Mountain Pose
Step 2 : Inhale deeply, then sweep your arms overhead in a wide arc.
Push your hips slightly forward, being careful not to collapse your lower back. Gaze up at your hands if you feel comfortable doing so.
Morning Stretches - Mountain with arms high
Step 3 : As you exhale, release your arms and fold forward.
Bend your knees if you feel tension in your legs and back, and reach down to the floor. Place your hands on your calves or blocks if they don’t reach the floor, and try to keep your back straight and your neck aligned.
Morning Stretches - Halfway lift
Step 4 : Take a deep inhale and plant your hands onto the floor, then step your right foot back into a lunge, followed by your left.
Lengthen your torso in this plank pose, and stay strong in your body. Inhale, then lower your knees to the floor and bend your elbows. Your knees, chest and chin should be closest to the floor.
Morning Stretches - Lunge
Step 5 : As you exhale, move into high cobra by lowering your calves to the floor, then pushing up through your palms.
Keep your legs active and engaged, and draw your shoulders down and away from your ears. It’s important not to collapse your lower back, and don’t overdo this stretch if you feel stiff.
Morning Stretches - High Cobra
Step 6 : As you inhale, lift your buttocks and push into your hands and feet to reach downward facing dog.
Spread your palms and soles, and imagine your torso is being pulled upwards. Take a few deep breaths here, bending your knees if the stretch is too intense.
Morning Stretches - Downward Facing Dog
Step 7 :Lower to full plank and step your left leg between your palms into a lunge as you exhale
Do the same with your right leg, then straighten your back into a halfway lift. Take a few deep breaths here, before lifting back up into mountain pose.
Morning Stretches - Lunge

This morning stretch routine can be repeated as many times as you like, and ideally every morning.

Try to move through each posture in time with your breath, working deeper into the stretches as your muscles warm up.

Key Facts

  1. Stretching in the morning offers a range of physical and mental health benefits.

  2. A sun salutation routine can be practiced every morning and is suitable for both beginners and experienced yogis.

  3. Spend some time focusing on your breath, then move through each posture, inhaling and exhaling deeply as you do so.

  4. When your body is stiff and cold, it’s important not to push yourself. As your body warms up, you should be able to stretch a little deeper.