Whether it's the morning wake up or afternoon slump, these stretches paired with energizing food choices will keep you powering through the day. That snooze button is going to miss you! By incorporating a little movement first thing in the morning, you’ll get that brain firing and muscles moving right off the gates.
Here are some ways to dust off the cobwebs and ease into your day with health and purpose.
First, connect. Pull out your favorite yoga mat or simply do some toe touches and twists. Remind your body why it’s there and work out any early-morning creaks. We like to take the time required to steep a cup of tea or brew our morning coffee to connect with our bodies and wake up our brains.
Once your mind and body are awake enough to consider a challenge, begin deepening your stretches and working on mobility. Can you sip your coffee while doing this? Oh, absolutely!
Start with a calf stretch and move your way through the rest of your body. From calves to quads to butterfly stretches, then move into more challenging poses like lunges and runner’s stretch. Once your legs are warmed up, don’t skip your upper body and back.
Twists will help get your digestion firing and getting in some morning shoulder, upper back and wrist work will be particularly important for those of us who work at a desk most of the day. Chest opening stretches will help you breathe better.
Now that your blood is pumping and your body is warmed up and supported, consider moving into a little more mobility work. Start with deep lunges, working on your hip flexors. This one is great for anyone, but particularly for runners.
Notice how your body moves, particularly how your knees, hips, and ankles feel as you deepen your stretches, apply weight, and shift.
- Do you feel supported or wobbly?
- Are there extra aches and pains or even clicks?
Morning is a great time to pay attention to those sensations so you can work to take care of them throughout the day. Throughout this sequence of movements, we’re willing to bet that your brain has kicked into gear.
Blood flow is directly correlated with brain function, and simply by applying these stretches and mobility exercises to your morning routine, you’ve actively told your brain that it’s time to start firing. Those who regularly stretch in the mornings are shown to have better posture, improved blood flow, better cognitive function, and higher energy throughout the day.
Your body and brain are in sync, and by getting a healthy start for both first thing in the morning, followed by a nutrient dense breakfast, you are setting brain and body up for success.