Rise and Shine: 8 Stretches You Should Do Each Morning

By , Suzanne Bowen
One of the best ways to start your day in a healthy way is to take a moment to ground your thoughts by stretching and intentionally breathing.  It's amazing what you can accomplish in less than seven minutes to set your day on the right path.  
When you stretch deeply, you should always be warm.  So performing this series after a morning workout or after a hot shower is optimal. If you do it right out of bed, make sure you stretch more gently.  

Here are eight stretches to add to your morning routine to feel strong, flexible and grounded. These exercises cover all your major muscle groups and can be followed any time of day, including after your workouts.
Upper Back Release
Targets the upper back and back of shoulders.
Standing with feet hip-distance apart, clasp hands and round upper back keeping arms straight and active.

Think about the shoulder blades spreading wide across your back.

Hold stretch for 2-3 deep breaths.

Chest Release
Targets the chest, front of shoulders and biceps.
Holding a wall, door frame or window ledge with left arm, step forward with left leg and turn entire body to the right especially at the hips.  

Hold stretch for 4-6 deep breaths increasing stretch with the pivot at the hips.  Repeat on the other side.

Side Stretch
Targets the IT band (outer thigh), obliques and shoulders.
Standing with right hand on bed or wall, cross left leg in front of right leg, feet pointing forward.

Shift into the left hip and reach left arm up and over head, creating a long line from the left ankle to the left fingertips.  

Hold and take 2-3 deep inhales and exhales.  Repeat on right.

Seated Spinal Twist
Targets the spine, neck and shoulders.
Sitting on a chair or edge of bed with legs together, lengthen spine rotate from the waist, placing one hand behind you and the other hand on your outer thigh for support.

For a deeper stretch for the neck, turn your gaze to look over your shoulder as well.

Hold 2-3 deep breaths.  Repeat other side.
Standing Hamstring Stretch
Targets hamstrings.

Supporting yourself for balance as needed, bring right leg up onto a step or bench, increasing height as flexibility increases.  Keep legs hips distance and parallel and keep back leg straight (if possible) and front foot flexed.  

If you need to increase stretch, hinge at the hips (not the waist or back), keeping the spine completely straight.  Don't round the spine.

Take 4-6 deep breaths. Repeat other side.  
Standing Quad Stretch
Targets quadriceps.
Holding a chair, wall or bed for support, stand with feet hip-distance apart. Soften left knee and reach for your right foot or ankle, bending the right knee to point straight down to the floor.

Keep pelvis neutral and spine tall with the crown of your  head reaching to the ceiling.  

Hold for 4-6 deep breaths.  Repeat other side.

Outer Hip Stretch
Targets hips and outer thighs.

Lift left leg, knee bent, onto bed. Square off hips and make sure front knee is outside of front shoulder.

Keeping tailbone untucked and spine straight, hinge forward at the hips, placing hands on the bed for support.

Hold for 4-6 deep breaths then change sides.

Standing Forward Bend
Targets hamstrings and lower back.
Standing with feet hip-distance apart and knees slightly bent, hinge forward at the hips.  Allow your upper body to hang over your legs and clasp elbows.  

(Note: Do not "hang" from elbows if you have any lower back issues. Instead, place hands on floor or legs for support.)

Hold for 2-3 deep breaths while you gently shake your head no and even more gently nod your head yes.   To come up, pull in abs and gently round up one vertebra at a time.

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JULIJULINN 7/23/2021
Definitely yes! Report
OLDSKOOL556 6/24/2021
Thanks for sharing article🦋 Report
RO2BENT 6/24/2021
Excellent Report
Great article. Report
Thanks Report
JULIJULINN 6/23/2021
My morning start. Report
JUSTJ2014 6/18/2021
Yes great stretches TY Report
Yep. Recommended by PT trainers Report
ROBBIEY 5/30/2021
great Report
BOB5148 4/9/2021
Thank you Report
MJ7DM33 3/30/2021
TY Report
MUGABI123 3/30/2021
I need to start stretching every day! Report
I will try this tomorrow morning Report
CECTARR 3/30/2021
Thanks Report
A great way to start my day! Report
RO2BENT 3/30/2021
If it's important, make time for it Report
LRCOTE 3/30/2021
Always be gentle with yourself.
Never keep going if you’re in pain. Report
LEANJEAN6 3/30/2021
great moves--I wish I had more time in my day to do these every day! Report
SEDONACAT 3/30/2021
Txs for sharing but a word of warning if you have osteoporosis of the spine-do NOT do the spinal twist or the leaning forward. I sustained a spinal fracture in June because of the latter. Report
AZMOMXTWO 3/30/2021
thank you again Report
JUSTJ2014 3/30/2021
Great info thanks for sharing Report
NEPTUNE1939 3/30/2021
ty Report
FERRETLOVER1 3/30/2021
Excellent article. Report
JANIEWWJD 3/30/2021
Awesome article!!! Loved all the stretches!!! Report
_CYNDY55_ 3/30/2021
Thanks Report
Stretching may well be the most important part of exercising. Report
DIVAGLOW 1/28/2021
These are great! Thanks! Report
CEMOSES2 1/15/2021
I need to get back into the habit of doing these stretches-I used to do them daily. Report
CATNAP6291 11/14/2020
great ideas Report
ARNETTELEE 11/7/2020
thanks Report
THINCPL2004 10/24/2020
Great article Report
ELSCO55 10/17/2020
thanks Report
NANHBH 9/29/2020
These will be very helpful! Report
USMAWIFE 8/23/2020
thank you Report
HOLLYM48 8/22/2020
Great article! Report
JWINKSLLC 8/15/2020
Nice!! Lots of people can't reach the ankle for the standing quad stretch, so it's nice to suggest that they use a strap or old tie to wrap around the foot an bring it towards the glutes. Report
I love doing these stretches Report
Ty Report
Thanks Report
Very Nice-Well Worth the time Report
Thanks Report
Every morning I gently stretch for a minimum of 15 minutes, it helps me to start the day having fibromyalgia.
Thank you for showing and providing good explanation of a few new exercises to me. Report
thank you Report
thank you Report
Great Blog! ! Report
trying this today Report
thanks. Think I'll make these part my morning routine. I like that they are simple and not extremely time consuming.

Great info Report
thank you Report