Try These Warming Stretches For Chilly Mornings
1. Neck and Shoulder Rolls
First, roll your shoulders back. Imagine that your shoulder blades expand and constrict as you roll and relax into the stretch. Repeat that ten times before you roll your shoulders in the opposite direction. Then, slowly move your neck in circles, extending the warming stretches until you feel a gentle pull.
2. Arm Circles
Extend your arms out to your sides, keeping them straight without hyperextending. With your palms down, make circles with your fingertips, using the muscles in your arms to keep them elevated and straight. Rotate forward ten times, then rotate backward ten times.
3. Frog’s Legs
First, get on your hands and knees with your legs spread further than shoulder-width apart. Slowly shift your weight back as if you’re trying to get your rear end as close to the ground as possible between your ankles. As your knees splay, your legs should drop to the ground, looking like a frog’s legs.
4. Child’s Pose
This classic yoga pose involves sitting on the ground on your knees (hence its alternative name, healing asana). Bend forward with your arms outstretched and your legs still compressed underneath you. With your arms straight ahead on the ground, press your palms down and feel the stretch in your back.
This move involves starting on the ground on your hands and knees shoulder-width apart. First, arch your back up as if you’re being pulled up by a string in the center of your back, letting your neck hang. Hold that for a couple of seconds, then switch to cat – here, you’ll imagine that same string is pulling you by your stomach, arching your back in the opposite direction.
6. Body Twist
This exercise can also be done either standing or sitting on a chair or on the ground. First, face forward and put your arms up, bent so that your elbows are parallel to your shoulders and your hands are in a fist, parallel to your chest. Rotate your torso to the left by leading with your elbow, keeping your legs perfectly still. Don’t hold the pose – immediately, imagine your elbow being pulled to the right similarly, and turn in the opposite direction. Repeat a few times.
7. Toe Touch
This exercise is the easiest – stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and bend down to touch your toes. Keep your legs straight, but don’t lock them. Pulse ten times in a row before rolling back up slowly, and after a small break, repeat two more times.
8. Downward Dog
Set your feet slightly further than shoulder-width apart and place your hands on the ground at shoulder-width. Move your hands forward until they’re slightly above your head and your read end is pointed towards the sky (almost like you’re making a triangle with your body). Lean into the stretch until you feel it in your back, calves, and thighs, and try pressing your heels into the ground as much as possible. Hold for twenty seconds, then take a break.
9. Side Bends
While sitting or standing, get in a position where your feet are shoulder-width apart (or tucked under your legs if you’re sitting on the ground). Put one hand on your hip with the other arched above your head. With the arm above your head, reach as far as you can over your head and towards the side until you feel a stretch in your side.
10. Leg Swing
Put a chair on your right side as you’re standing, and hold it with your right hand to stabilize yourself. Then, lift your left leg off the ground, trying to let it dangle as much as possible. Swing your leg back and forth from the hip joint gently, trying to get it as loose as possible. After ten swinging motions, pivot and swing the other hip.