Stretching in Bed: Look and Feel Better
Excerpted from the “Stretching in Bed Guide” by Betty Perkins Carpenter, Ph. D., which features 14 stretching exercises designed to provide an easy and effective way to help you start your day feeling physically awake and mentally alert.
Stretching makes us feel good inside and out, and when we feel good, we look good. Stretching is also a form of exercise. It is key to flexibility and mobility because it creates warmth in our muscles and ligaments.
How would you like to get out of bed every morning feeling refreshed, relaxed and ready to begin another productive, healthful day? You can! Simply follow the systematic stretching exercises described here.
When you wake up!
- Turn on your favorite music. Our bodies are very sensitive to sound when we first awake.
- Plan to do each stretch one to two times, holding each for 15 seconds. As you improve, hold up to 30 seconds.
- Begin by removing the pillow from behind your head.
- Lie flat on your back. You may place a pillow under your knees if this is more comfortable.
- Breathe normally during each stretch. Try to gently extend your stretch a little farther each time you work out.
- Execute each stretch in a fluid, continuous motion, putting a mild tension on the muscle (do not jerk or bounce the stretch).
- Never overexert yourself, and stop immediately if you experience any pain.
Always consult your physician before you undertake this or any stretching or physical program.
1. Jiggle, Wiggle & Wise: Whole Body
- Stretch and reach in all directions from your fingertips to your toes.
- Shake and wiggle, gently waking up your body.
- Arch your back a little. Now make your whole body tense from your face to your toes. Hold for 5 seconds, relax, and gently wiggle again.
2. A Little Necking: Neck
- Turn your head to the right as far as comfortable, and then to the left; return to center.
- Next, keeping your head on the bed, make circular motions with your head; first in a clockwise movement, then reverse direction, counter-clockwise.
3. High & Mighty: Shoulders & Upper Back
- Stretch fingertips toward the ceiling.
- Lift shoulders off bed as far as you can; then lower shoulders, pushing gently into the bed; relax.
- With palms flat, stretch both hands toward the ceiling; hold and relax.
4. Elbow Magic: Shoulders and Upper Back
- Keeping elbows close to your sides, place fingertips on your shoulders.
- Raise elbows up to point at the ceiling.
- Then, open elbows out to sides and lower to bed, keeping fingertips on shoulders.
- Lift again, touching your elbows together in front of you.
- Open your elbows, then make 5 large circles clockwise. Repeat with both elbows going counterclockwise.
- Then relax and lower your elbows to the bed.
5. Rock ‘n’ Roll: Waist, Hips & Thighs
If you’ve had a hip replacement, check with your surgeon prior to doing this exercise.
- Keep arms out to sides, knees bent.
- With head still and shoulders flat, roll onto your right hip as far as comfortable, keeping your knees and feet together.
- Return to center and roll to the left side.
- Alternate right and left.
For 9 more exercises like this, check out the “Stretching in Bed Guide”.
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