You already know that stretching before exercise is important to help prevent injury. But are you aware that morning stretch routines can help you to improve your fitness levels and flexibility?

It can be challenging to add stretching into your busy morning ritual. But, this guide will show you how it can be beneficial and the best way to get started. Alongwith this you have the support of the Fit Father Project for life!

Why Stretch in the Morning?

good posture vs bad posture morning stretch routinesSleeping allows your body to relax. But this is not always enough to correct your poor posture during the day!

This is particularly true if you spend a lot of time sitting.

Morning stretch routines are the perfect way to correct your posture and start the day how you mean to carry on!

You’ll also find that morning stretch routines can assist you in eliminating the aches and pains that often accompany getting out of bed in the morning.

But that’s not all!

Morning stretch routines are a great way to get the blood flowing. This improves the supply of oxygen to your organs and muscles, preparing them for action. The brain is included in the process, which means stretching can actually kick start your concentration for the day!

Why is Stretching So Important?

morning stretch routines to prevent injuryStretching is important for maximizing your range of motion. It can take your focus off the day ahead, reducing stress and allowing your body to function properly.

Of course, stretching is also important before you exercise to reduce the risk of injury and improve your performance.

Morning Stretch Routines to Get You Started

The key to your morning stretch routines is to keep it simple.

Ideally you should be able to jump out of bed and complete 5 – 10 stretches in approximately 10 minutes. This will be enough to make a difference in your daily life and have a surprising effect on your fitness levels!

    • The Neck Stretch

    morning stretch routines to get you started

Your neck can get stiff after sleeping, but also when sitting at a computer all day. The neck stretch is a simple but effective move to hale alleviate the stiffness.

Tip your right ear towards your shoulder, gently pushing it down with your right hand. At the same time reach for the floor with your left hand.

Return and repeat the other side.

    • Chest Release

Place both arms behind your back with hands interlocking. Keep your arms straight and pull them up slightly as you pull your shoulders back. You’ll feel the stretch in your chest.

    • Upper Back

Now put your hands together straight out in front of you and move your chin to your chest. Then pull your shoulders together while raising your hands slightly.

    • The Side Stretch

Your feet will need to de hip distance apart. Put your arms above your head and use your right hand to grab your left wrist. Then bend to the right side and feel your left stretching. Repeat in the other direction.

    • Yoga Cat

You’ll need to put your knees and hands on the floor. Tuck your chin into your chest and arch your back upwards. Hold for several seconds before inverting the stretch and repeating.

    • Hip Flex

You will need to adopt a lunge position. It is important to keep your back straight. Lean forward slightly and you’ll feel your hip stretching on the same side as your low knee.

Repeat on the other side!

    • The Cobra

This is another yoga stretch. You’ll need to lie on the floor, face down. Your hands should be flat on the floor just in front of your shoulders. Push up with your arms to straighten them. Keep your waist on the floor and go as high as you can without feeling pain.

The DO’s of Stretching

morning stretching routines man stretchingWhile stretching is very important it is important to understand that even stretching has risks! To ensure you get the most from your morning stretch routines you should do the following:

  • Focus

Focusing on the area you’re stretching will help to ensure you are moving the right muscles and completely the exercise properly.

  • Target

It is important to be aware of your body and specifically which muscles are tight. This will ensure you choose morning stretch routines that target the right muscle groups.

  • Push It!

The point of stretching is to push your body. It’s okay to feel the stretch; it’s not okay to put yourself in serious pain.

  • Stick At It

It might not feel like your morning stretch routines are having an effect but they are. Perseverance is key as your flexibility and even fitness will improve slowly.

  • Closed Chain

A closed chain stretch exerts pressure on the soles of your feet or on the palms of your hands.  These types of movements create a strong reflex extension and will improve your flexibility far quicker than open chain exercises.

The DON'Ts of Stretching

Of course, there are several things that you shouldn’t do – the Don’ts:

  • Time Limit

You should never hold an intense stretch for longer than 15 seconds; this will deprive your muscles of oxygen. The consequence of this is a buildup of connective tissue which will weaken your muscles and actually decrease your flexibility!

  • Strength Training

Strength training exercises which invoke passive stretching will help to boost your flexibility. It’s a great idea to add some of the following into your exercise routine:

    • Stiff legged deadlift for your hamstrings.
    • Incline bench dumbbell curl for your biceps.
    • Seated cable row for the middle of your back.
    • Stability ball crunch for your abdominals.
  • Reversing The Stretch

If you stretch a muscle, such as your lats by hanging off a bar then don’t reverse the motion and pull yourself back up. This will ruin the effect of the stretch!

  • Hold Your Breath

Part of the reason that yoga should be part of your morning stretch routines is because it ensures you focus on breathing.

You should never hold your breath while stretching; this will tense your muscles. Breathe out slowly while stretching to maximize the effect.

The Bottom Line

Your morning stretch routines can help energize your body in the morning and set you up for the day.

Providing you stick to the do’s and don’ts in this guide and focus on the muscles that need stretching you’ll be surprised at how quickly you feel the benefits.

But don’t forget that these stretches can also be a great way to loosen up before you undertake your formal exercise.

If you aren’t sure what exercise to start doing then choose Fit Fathers for life and try our free 24-minute workout.  It’s the perfect complement to the old school muscle program.

We’re here to advice and support you on every step of your journey. Morning stretch routines are just the first step on your path to losing weight, building muscle and feeling great!

Your new friend & health coach,

stuart-headshotStuart Carter
Head Training Staff, The Fit Father Project

Brotherhood Nickname: “The Fit Brit”
Bragging Rights: 16 Years in the fitness industry, Author of ‘The Easy Fitness Guide', Father of 4 boys and Husband to a Venezuelan beauty.

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