As we sleep, our heart rate drops, our bodies become stiff from laying in the same position, and our blood pressure is low. Upon waking, before reaching for our phone and looking at our to-do lists, it is important to wake up our body gently. Not only will elongating and contracting our muscles relieve that muscle stiffness and allow our blood pressure to slowly rise, but it will get our blood flowing faster which, in turn, allows more oxygen to our brain. A great morning stretch will accelerate the release of mood-enhancing endorphines which will get your day started off on the right foot.
5 Benefits of Stretching:
1. Increase in Blood Flow: Adequate blood flow increases concentration and sharpens your senses. Per the Cleveland Clinic, it also helps deliver nutrients to your muscle tissues.
2. Helps Build Muscle: Yes, you read it right! BUILDS muscle…… Research done at Florida State University found that stretching builds muscle mass – just like strength training – by creating small tissue tears that are then repaired by the body.
3. Increase Flexibility: Stretching actually helps reverse the effects of daily wear and tear and aids in mobility and muscle elasticity. An increase in flexibility is key to preventing injury and helps ensure greater movement for years to come.
4. Improved Posture: Sitting all day at a desk tends to train your muscles to hold your posture specifically for that setting. Stretching in the morning helps loosen up muscles so that the daily sitting doesn’t take over and almost “re-trains” the muscles to maintain a stronger, neutral posture.
5. Increase in Energy: The experts at the American Council on Exercise report that morning stretching supports your energy throughout the entire day by preventing lethargy and feelings of tiredness.
Check out TMAC Fitness owner, Todd McCullough, and his great videos. See his morning yoga stretch routine here .
Another one of my favorite morning stretch routines is by Kathy Smith. CLICK HERE TO SEE HER “LONG AND STRONG” video
Kimberly has over 20 years of experience in the health and wellness industry. She has managed and operated fitness facilities and programs in Michigan, California, and Florida.
She is making it her mission to help her community, a small rural town in Northern Florida, to get healthy and get off the bottom of the list of the most “unhealthy counties in Florida.”
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