5 Morning Stretching Exercises

Stretching in the morning is a great way to "awaken" your muscles and get them ready for the day. Stretching loosens up your body while increasing blood flow to your muscles.

Incorporating morning stretches into your daily routine is a positive way to begin each day. Learn an easy and effective morning stretch exercise program.

Before starting this, or any other exercise program, check in with your doctor to ensure that exercise is safe for you to do. Stop any exercise that causes pain.

Start your morning protecting your back by doing the prone press-up exercise. This is a type of McKenzie exercise that helps to keep your back in a good position to start your day.

  1. Lie on your stomach with your hands in a push-up position.
  2. Relax your back and hips, and slowly press your upper body up, allowing your back to arch.
  3. Hold this position for 2 seconds, and then release.
  4. Repeat 10 times.

Morning Stretch for Lumbar Flexion

Photo of a person bending forward.
Dr. Laura Inverarity

To gently stretch your low back, perform the seated lumbar flexion exercise. This is a perfect stretch if you have spinal stenosis.

  1. Sit on the edge of your bed with your feet on the floor.
  2. Bend over, reaching your hands toward your feet.
  3. Arch your back.
  4. Hold for a count of 10.
  5. Repeat 5 more times.

You must be careful with this stretch if you have a bulging or herniated disc in your spine. This exercise may place increased stress on your disc, causing significant pain. If that happens, stop the exercise and check in with your doctor right away.

Morning Stretch for Neck Mobility

Stretch 2
Dr. Laura Inverarity

A simple way to get your neck moving is with the neck rotation stretch. Here is how you do it:

  1. Remain seated on the edge of your bed with your feet on the floor.
  2. Rotate your neck in a circle, touching your ears to your shoulders.
  3. Rotate slowly in a clockwise direction 5 times.
  4. Rotate slowly in a counterclockwise direction 5 times.

Shoulder Shrugs

Photo of sweaty man stretching with a towel.

Adrianna Williams / Getty Images

Get your shoulders loose with the seated shoulder shrug, like this:

  1. Remain seated on the edge of your bed with your feet on the floor.
  2. Shrug your shoulders up to your ears.
  3. Repeat 10 more times.

Morning Shoulder Stretches

Stretch 4
Dr. Laura Inverarity

Keep your rotator cuff and shoulders healthy with the overhead shoulder stretch. Here's how:

  1. Stand next to your bed.
  2. Lace your fingers together.
  3. Raise your hands above your head, palms upward.
  4. Lift up stretching your rib cage.
  5. Hold for a count of 10.
  6. Repeat 5 more times.

Be sure to watch for any pinching or painful sensations in your shoulders as you do this. If you feel shoulder pain while stretching, stop the exercise immediately.

Standing Quad Stretch

Photo of a young woman stretching her thigh.

Cultura RM Exclusive / Jordan Lutes / Getty Images

To stretch your quadriceps muscles in the front of your thighs:

  1. Stand up and hold onto something stable.
  2. Bend one knee up and grab your ankle with one hand.
  3. Hold your leg up for 15 seconds.
  4. Repeat 3 times.

Now you should be all stretched out and ready to start your day.

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Article Sources
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  1. Hotta K, Behnke BJ, Arjmandi B, et al. Daily muscle stretching enhances blood flow, endothelial function, capillarity, vascular volume and connectivity in aged skeletal muscle. J Physiol (Lond). 2018;596(10):1903-1917. doi:10.1113/JP275459

  2. Cambron JA, Schneider M, Dexheimer JM, et al. A pilot randomized controlled trial of flexion-distraction dosage for chiropractic treatment of lumbar spinal stenosis. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2014;37(6):396-406. doi:10.1016/j.jmpt.2014.05.005