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Beginning the Day with a Morning Stretch Routine to Boost Muscle Strength

As the morning alarm rings, are you truly awake yet? Each of us has our unique wake-up rituals, which often involve a steaming cup of coffee. However, engaging in a gentle movement session to get your blood circulating can help revitalize both your body and mind.

“Upon waking up, our bodies often feel tense and constricted from remaining stationary for hours during sleep,” shared Jeff Brannigan, the program director at Stretch*d, a stretching-focused recovery establishment located in New York City, in a previous interview with Well+Good. “Commencing the day with a few active stretches can elongate muscles, reduce tension, and promote blood circulation to the area.”

This 15-minute morning stretch regimen, led by Brian Spencer, an instructor at East River Pilates, aims to achieve just that. Through a cat-cow posture, Spencer emphasizes the importance of breathing deeply during movement, referring to it as “Exhaling deeply as you curve, inhaling deeply as you expand.” Deep breathing facilitates the delivery of oxygen to muscles and the brain.

The routine focuses on opening the chest, twisting the spine, and enhancing shoulder mobility. This includes making large circular motions with your arms, akin to a freestyle swimming stroke. Let this circular motion energize you, envisioning yourself waking up and embarking on an invigorating ocean swim. Perhaps you’ll even spot a playful dolphin along the way. How refreshing!

Spencer also underlines the significance of allowing your muscles to gradually awaken. For instance, when performing a hamstring stretch, it’s advisable not to immediately push for maximum depth. “Since it’s morning, we should engage in gentle exploration,” suggests Spencer. “Allow your hamstring to gradually awaken, as if hitting the snooze button.”

By easing your muscles into these initial stretches (without pushing them too forcefully too soon), they will be prepared to rise and embrace the new day.

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