As soon as they wake up, dogs take a luxurious stretch and energetic shake to prepare their bodies for the day ahead, whether it’s hunting and running (as they evolved), or playing with toys and lazing in the sun (as my dog does every day). ). We can learn a lot from their canine instincts: getting the lead out first is beneficial for humans too.
Both stretching and working out in the morning get our blood flowing, which helps our organs (including our brain) function properly and sends oxygen to parts of our body that may be stiff after a night’s sleep. More intense movement can reduce brain fog, while gentle exercise can awaken our “rest and digest” parasympathetic nervous system, setting us up for something calm and focused ahead.
A new morning workout from Charlie Atkins, trainer and founder of Le Sweat, both builds space in our bodies and activates our muscles. In this 10-minute mobility-focused workout video, Atkins zeroes in on helping your hips, spine, chest, and shoulders move through their full range of motion. To do this, he combines stretching with exercise to benefit both types of movement.
For example, a set of isometric split squats works your lower body and increases mobility, since the position includes a front body stretch. The more active you are, the deeper the stretch.
“We’re really firing up that back glue to open the hips,” Atkins says.
Other mobility-focused moves include windmill stretches to mobilize your shoulder joints and spine, side planks to wake up your core, and a final set of step jacks for a little cardio burst to get your heart pumping.
And, of course, what would a morning movement session be without some downward dog? It’s a cross-genre classic for a reason.