Best Morning / Bedtime Routine Stretches
1. Reach for the sky! Standing on your tippy-toes reach your arms above your head (with your thumbs pointed backwards). Reach as high as you can go. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat 3 times. You should feel some lengthening of your armpits and slight compression in your shoulder. Why is this important?? By compressing your shoulders every day you teach the rotator cuff tendons to stretch and compress. This keeps them supple and more resistant to the ever dreaded “rotator cuff tear”. Bonus, by standing on your tippy-toes you are working on your balance and calf strength as well!
2. Cat / Cow This one starts on the floor on your hands and knees (with your shoulder and hips over hands and knees respectively). Start by drawing in your abdominals (suck in your gut!) as you arch your back to look like a Halloween Cat. Hold for 5 seconds. Slowly release your tummy and let it all hang out as you reverse your spinal curve into “cow” position (commonly referred to as a “sway-back”. Gently look up and stick your butt out like a skunk. Hold for 5 seconds and repeat back and forth 5 times each way. This stretch sequence will help rid your body of unwanted tension from your tail bone up to your neck. It also can work as a gentle core strengthening exercise.
3. Snow Angel Laying down on the floor on your back with your hands by your sides (palms facing the ceilings). Start by opening your chest and connecting the backs of your shoulders to the floor. Slowly with straight arms drag the backs of your hands and arms up the floor until you feel a stretch in your chest (front of armpits). Stop if your arms or hands are unable to stay connected to the floor. Rest at this end position for 5 seconds. Slowly return to the start position and repeat 5 times. This is a great front of body “opener” stretch. It works towards maintaining an open chest posture and is great for neck and shoulder health.