morning stretches benefits (1)
Lifestyle

Morning stretches: Simple and easy to follow stretches

5 min read

As we get older, morning stretches can work wonders for both our mobility and wellbeing.

It doesn’t matter whether you’ve had a good or bad night’s sleep, our muscles and joints can sometimes take a little while to warm up.

This blog will provide you with simple and easy to achieve morning stretches that you can factor into your daily schedule.

And don't forget to always seek professional medical advice before you start any new exercise regime.

Here’s what we’ll cover in this article:

  • Morning stretches should be done every day to combat achy muscles and stiff joints.
  • Problems with sleep, stress and bad posture can all cause mobility issues and pain when we wake up in the morning.
  • Whether sitting, standing or in an all fours position, morning stretches should be done at your own pace and with an awareness of your flexibility.
  • You don’t need any equipment to complete these morning stretches.
easy morning stretches (1)

Why should you do morning stretches?

Morning stretches are a great way to engage your muscles and feel energised as you start your day.

Stretching out old aches from previous days and getting some movement in the joints can also improve function over time and prevent injury.

Plus, setting time aside for your morning stretches is a great form of self-care.

Not only are you looking after your body, but your mind will also benefit from creating time for yourself and sticking to your practice – it’s a great way to keep your brain active.

Confused about care funding?

Free Care Funding Guide Download

What causes morning mobility issues?

Sleep

While we sleep our muscles relax, blood flow decreases, and the heart rate slows down.

If you are lying in the same position all night, your muscles can start to tighten up.

This can cause aches and pains as well as having a negative impact on your posture throughout the day.

Stress

When we are feeling stressed, we tend to clench our muscles, especially in our neck and shoulders.

This muscular stress can resonate through the body and cause tension in other areas of the body, such as the back and hips.

morning stretches to improve posture (1)

Posture

Throughout our lives we pick up bad habits such as slouching, craning and crossing various parts of our body. All of which lead to bad posture.

Having bad posture can cause muscle fatigue and tension. Plus cause aches and pains when we wake up.

Pain can also lead back to bad posture, thus the vicious cycle continues unless you take time to look after your body.

Sitting down

Sitting down all day has negative consequences for our bodies.

There are many reasons why some of us end up sitting down for the majority of the day. Whether due to working a sedentary job or lack of ability or motivation to move.

When we spend long periods sitting down the hip flexor muscles shorten, which can lead to pain in the hip joints.

This may also affect your posture and cause compression in the spine, causing further problems.

Spending too long seated can also have negative consequences for weight gain, heart disease and a number of other conditions related to a sedentary lifestyle.

what is a good stretch for old person

Where can you practice morning stretches?

One of the best things about morning stretches is that they can be done practically anywhere.

Whether you want to set out an exercise mat to complete your practice or fill the time while the kettle boils, morning stretches can be inserted at any point into a morning routine.

Stretches can also be great exercise for arthritis.

Morning stretches in bed

Many morning stretches can be completed in bed, as soon as you wake up.

You can also do these stretches on a mat if you prefer a harder surface.

Morning stretches to do in bed

Cobra stretch

Lying on your front with your hands by your chest, gently push yourself up.

Your chest should be open with arms extended and looking straight forwards.

(The cobra stretch is shown in the image above.)

Knee to chest

Lying on your back with legs out straight, bring one leg up and hug towards your chest.

To deepen you can bring your nose to knee for an extra stretch.

Repeat on both sides.

stretches for older people

Spinal twist

Start by lying on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the mattress.

Place your arms perpendicular to your body, so they make a T shape.

Gently take your knees to one side while rotating your gaze to the other direction.

If you want to intensify the stretch you can repeat with one leg crossed over the other.

Sitting stretches

Mermaid stretch

Sitting on your mat, bend your legs so the knees are facing in the same direction.

One leg will be more in front and the other slightly more to the side.

Seated in this position you can stretch your arm upwards to lengthen to the side of the body.

You can also twist to the side of the back leg for another stretch. Repeat on the other side.

(The mermaid stretch is shown in the image above.)

Seated glute stretch

Sitting on your mat with your legs straight out front.

Bend one knee up and twist to bring your body to the same side.

butterfly morning stretch

Butterfly stretch

Sit on your mat and bring the soles of your feet together in front, dropping the knees out to the side.

Gently push the knees to the floor as far as you can manage.

Spinal twist – lying down

Start by lying on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the mattress.

Place your arms perpendicular to your body, so they make a T shape.

Gently take your knees to one side while rotating your gaze to the other direction. If you want to intensify the stretch you can repeat with one leg crossed over the other.

Standing stretches for the morning

Mountain pose

Stand tall with your feet hip width distance apart with your hands by your sides.

Though this is a simple stretch, you should engage your back and chest.

Side stretch

Stand tall and bring your hands together above your head.

Stretch to one side and feel the muscles in the side of your body engage.

Repeat on the other side.

(Side stretch is shown in the image above.)

quad stretch for older people

Quad stretch

Stand tall and find your balance.

Slowly bend one leg up and behind you, grabbing hold of the shin, ankle or foot.

This creates a stretch in the front of the thigh.

Repeat on the other side.

Hamstring stretch

Fold at the hips and hang your head towards the fool.

Adjust the width of your feet as necessary.

The closer they are together, the more intense the stretch.

This stretch can also be adapted to sitting down.

benefits of stretching for older people

Quadruped stretches

Quadruped thoracic rotation

Find a comfortable position on all fours where your back is neutral.

Slowly take your right arm and thread it through to your left side. Repeat on the left side. 

Quadruped swimmers stretch

On all fours, slowly bring one arm back with your fingertips reaching back towards your hips.

Cat cow

From a neutral spine on all fours, slowly arch your back and lengthen your neck towards the floor.

Transition from this cat pose into cow by pushing your chest out forwards and your bottom out backwards, creating an inverse curve through the back.

downward dog stretch

Downward dog

Place your hands out in front of you and push your hips up to the ceiling to create an inverted V shape on your mat.

stretches that are good for back pain

What kind of morning stretches can you do for back pain?

Many of us go to sleep, wake up and spend the day with back pain.

There are many reasons someone might experience back pain, whether from injury, sciatica or low level constant aching. It can sometimes be hard to identify the exact cause.

Child’s pose

Starting on all fours, push your hips back and stretch your arms out in front of you.

You can rest your head on the floor or mat.

Stretch through the srms to deepen the stretch, wiggle your body to wake up and move in a way that feels good.

This is also a good time to notice anywhere that doesn’t feel good and spend some moments working on those places.

Piriformis Muscle Stretch

Lie on your back with knees bent and both heels on the floor.

Cross one leg over the other and rest the ankle on the bent knee.

Gently pull the bottom knee toward the chest until you can feel a stretch in the buttock where the Piriformis muscle is located.

stretches for back pain

Knees to chest

Lie on your back and hug your knees to your chest.

Simple and restorative!

Happy baby stretch

Start this stretch by lying on your back.

Bring your knees to your chest with feet facing upwards.

Grab hold of your feet if you can and feel the lovely release in the hips, groin and lower back.

Back pain can also be prevented or reduced by staying active and avoiding sitting down for long periods of time.

pigeon stretch for hip pain

Stretches for hip pain

Hip pain can be caused by a variety of things, including arthritis or injury.

It can be connected with compression in the lower spine, therefore lower back stretches and strengthening are also recommended if you experience it.

Pigeon stretch

From a cobra position, fold your leg towards the front of your mat to rest behind your arms.

Either stay in this upright position or let your chest drop down.

Drop squat stretch

From a standing position with feel slightly wider than hip width apart.

Bring your hands together in a prayer position.

Bend your knees and drop down to find yourself squatting down.

Rest your elbows on your knees if you can.

hip pain and stretches

Bridge

Lying on your back with a neutral pelvis and feet hip width apart, begin to tilt your pelvis back, as if you were rolling a marble up your body.

Continue with this tilt until your pelvis is ready to lift off the mat.

Stay strong in your legs and push your hips up to the ceiling.

Remain here in a bridge hold, keeping your hips high and level or practice going up and down to the mat.

Samson stretch

Start in a lunge position with one leg forward and one leg back.

Drop down low, resting your knee on the floor if it is comfortable.

Use a towel, cushion or extra mat if you need extra support on the knee.

Keep the core tight and back straight while you bring your arms up straight above your head.

neck and shoulders stretches

Morning stretches for neck and shoulder pain

Gentle Neck Flexion Stretch

Gently tilt your neck to the left.

To intensify the stretch, bring the left hand up and over your head to press very lightly above the ear.

You can also lift the right arm away from the side body to lengthen the stretch.

Chin tucks

For this super simple exercise, tuck your chin in towards your neck and then reverse.

Chest expansion

Standing tall with hands at your sides, gently bring your arms back to push your chest forward, opening up the front body.

Doorway shoulder stretch

Find a doorway that you can use for this stretch.

Make a right angle with your arm with the fingertips pointing upwards and place your hand on the door.

One foot should be in front of the other and core tight for support.

Push against the wall and into the stretch to create resistance.

Worried about a loved one?

Early signs of dementia free guide

How to do morning stretches safely

As with any exercise, it is important to move in a way that is safe for your body’s needs.

A good stretch can last anywhere from 10 to 30 seconds.

Start with a duration and level that is suitable to your flexibility, and gradually build up to a deeper or longer stretch.

Stretches can also be modified by using a resistance band for support.

However, you should take into account any restrictions you face, such as past injuries or balance and other mobility issues.

When practising your morning stretching routine, ensure that you aren’t pushing your body further than you are able to, as this could cause injury.

If you feel any sudden pain, stop the movement and consult a movement professional, such as a physiotherapist or osteopath.

Need help with care?

If you’re considering care for yourself or a loved one but don’t know where to start then let Sweet Pea do all the hard work for you.

Finding trusted and available care in your local area is simple with Sweet Pea.

Just fill out your loved one’s details in our easy to follow questionnaire and we’ll create a personalised care shortlist, matched to your individual needs.