A stimulating 15-minute morning stretch routine

YOur morning alarm has gone off, but are you really “up”? We all have a fresh-out-of-bed routine to help start the day, which probably includes a big cup of coffee. But a gentle movement session that gets your blood flowing can help wake up your body and mind.

“In the morning, we often feel tense and tight because our bodies are stuck in the same position for hours while we sleep,” Jeff Brannigan, program director of Stretch*D, a stretching-focused recovery studio based in New York City, previously said. good + good. “Try starting your day with some active stretches to lengthen muscles and reduce tension by promoting circulation to the area.”

This 15-minute morning stretching routine led by East River Pilates instructor Brian Spencer will do just that. In a cat-cow position, Spencer reminds us of the importance of taking those sips of breath as we move—or as he puts it, “finding juicy breaths as you round, juicy breaths as you open.” Hmm, juicy. Deep breathing will help deliver oxygen to your muscles as well as your brain.

This stretching routine includes lots of chest opening, spine twisting, and shoulder mobility. This involves rotating your arms in large circles like a freestyle stroke. Let that rotation cheer you up and maybe “imagine you’re waking up and swimming in a beautiful ocean,” says Spencer. “Maybe you see a little dolphin, wave at it.” Refreshing!

Spencer emphasizes the importance of allowing your muscles to ease into the day. For example, a hamstring stretch, don’t necessarily go deep into the stretch first thing. “It’s morning, so we just want to explore a little bit,” Spencer said. “Let your hamstrings hit the snooze button a little.”

By letting your muscles enjoy those early stretches (and not straining too much too soon), they’ll be ready to roll out of bed and greet the day.

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