Stretches to Start Your Day

By LaReine Chabut, Madeleine Lewis

Part of Stretching For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Stretching is a good practice for your body. In addition, good stretching techniques can help you avoid injury and reduce stress. If you want to start your day out right, keep this handy list of stretches on your nightstand so you can practice them first thing in the morning.

  • Knees to chest: Bring both knees toward your chest, placing one hand under each knee for support. Breathe deeply and hold the stretch for 30 seconds.

  • Total body stretch: Lie on your back with your arms extended over your head. Inhale deeply and stretch your arms and legs as far as you can in opposite directions. As you exhale, release the stretch and relax your whole body. Repeat this exercise three or four times, each time trying to reach and stretch a little farther.

  • Spinal rotation: Lie on your back with your knees bent and place a pillow next to you. Bring both knees toward your chest, placing your hands under each knee for support. Take a deep breath in, and as you exhale, slowly lower your legs to one side until they rest on the pillow. Try to keep your opposite shoulder blade and your head on the bed or a pillow, so you’re just hinging at the hips. Hold this stretch for about 30 seconds, taking several deep breaths.