Stretching is one of the best things you could ever do for your body. And what a better way than to start your day off with morning stretches that’ll have a lasting effect for longer than just the day.

There are a number of benefits associated with stretching, such as improved posture, stress relief, injury prevention, increased flexibility and range of motion, and so much more.

Many people, such as individuals with desk jobs, or who spend a majority of their time in front of a computer for extended periods of time develop poor posture. This is often the result of overstretched back muscles and tight chest muscles.

By stretching in the morning, you can focus on opening up and stretching these muscles. As your muscles become more and more flexible, changes in your posture will become evident.

These morning stretches will help eliminate aches and pains you might experience upon waking up. Pain and stiffness are common in the morning, because there is an increase of fluid in the joints and spinal discs while the body lies horizontally overnight. Stretching in the morning will help move this fluid, as well as increase blood flow all throughout the body. As a result, you’ll have lasting energy that will power you through your day.

As with most stretching, be gentle with your body, and take your time. Don’t forget to breathe and become present with your body. Enjoy!

1. Door Stretch

This is a great stretch to open up the front of the chest and relax the muscles in the back of the torso.

1. While standing in a doorway, place your arms up on the door jam and place on foot forward through the doorway.
2. Your upper arms should be horizontal to the ground and the forearms should lie up along the door frame.
3. Bend your front knee until a stretch is felt along the front of your chest and/or shoulders.
4. Hold for 30 seconds, and repeat 2-3 times.

2. Standing Side Stretch

This stretch targets the upper back, core and shoulders. It helps increase the range of motion of your back, shoulders and core.

1. Stand with your feet together, and your arms straight overhead. Clasp your hands together, with your fingers interlaced and pointer fingers extended.
2. Inhale as you reach upward, and breathe out as you bend your upper body to the right.
3. Take 5 slow breaths, and slowly return to the centre. Repeat on the left side.
4. Do 3-4 repetitions, back and forth, taking your time.

3. Standing Hamstring Stretch

A great stretch for the hamstrings, which can help with lower back pain.

1. Put your left heel up on a surface that is a little lower than your hip, such as a bed, chair, or bench. Flex your foot.
2. Increase the stretch by bending forward toward your flexed foot by folding at the hips.
3. Hold for 30 seconds, and then switch legs.

4. Standing Forward Bend

This stretch helps release tight hamstrings and relaxes the whole length of the spine.

1. Standing with your feet hip-distance apart, and knees slightly bent, hinge forward at your hips.
2. Allow your upper body to hang over your legs and clasp your elbows (if you have any lower back issues, place your hands on the floor for support).
3. Hold for 3-4 deep breaths. You can rock yourself from side to side, and gently shake your head no.
4. Come up by pulling in your abs and gently round your vertebrae up one at a time. Repeat 2 times.

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