Blog Fitness What are the Benefits of Stretching In the Morning?

What are the Benefits of Stretching In the Morning?

Waking up early, especially on a work day is tough: you barely open your eyes and yearn to press the snooze button. And when you do, it won’t help you refresh yourself as noted in research that snoozing is more harmful than good.. 

One thing that isn’t on the harmful list of habits in the morning is stretching – the first thing we often do once we push away from our beds, yawning and rubbing our eyes. It seems like stretching is one of the essential rituals that causes you to prepare for the rest of the day. 

Raising your arms to the ceiling can help to stretch your back and neck. You look up and then down, understanding that it’s high time you started your day. No wonder stretching is so profound and simple at the same time. 

Aside from being a common practice, there is a wide pool of scientifically-based evidence citing stretching as a top-notch activity for early birds. Today we’re going to go deeper into the morning stretching routine  – what are the benefits of stretching in the morning?

In the end, you’ll find the 8 easy beginner-friendly stretching moves to liven up your morning routine. 

Is it good to stretch as soon as you wake up?

Stretching after we wake up is good for a majority of people. Interestingly, we often stretch out “instinctively” moving our bodies from side to side. 

This act has an official title – pandiculation – involuntary stretching of soft tissues, which occurs in most animal species and human beings (7). It happens because during sleep we don’t move our bodies much and then when awake we feel the need to stretch to increase the blood flow and oxygen to our muscles, which helps the body wake up. 

This, in turn, makes our body more flexible and ready for complex movement. 

How many minutes should I stretch in the morning?

Whether or not you’re dealing with Static Vs Dynamic Stretching, the key here is your consistency and not the timing itself. The American College of Sports and Medicine recommends stretching at least two to three times a week (8). 

See also
Get Ready To Move Easy In New Open Toe Dance Socks

This article recommends that adults should hold a static stretch for 10 to 30 seconds while older adults should aim for 30 to 60 seconds. 

Do what works for you as long as you’re capable of perpetuating the routine. If it’s five minutes per day three times a week – great, if it’s 15 minutes daily – also fine. 

Consistency along with your proper form, technique and breathing is vital. 

In addition, the timing of stretching may also depend on your further activities. If you’re preparing yourself for a long run, then dynamic quick stretches may be ideal for you.

If you’re using them as a cool-down after an exercise, then holding longer static stretches takes the win here. 

Remember one thing: starting your day with morning stretches should not involve difficult poses, especially when you’re a beginner. Try not to overstretch your body and do what feels good to you. In this case, listening to your body is another pro tip. 

BetterMe app will kick you out of the mental funk, shake off your extra weight, rid you off your energy-zapping habits, and help you sculpt the body of your dreams. Intrigued? Hurry up and change your life for the better!

Is stretching a good morning routine?

Yes, whether it’s stretching in the morning or at night, you cause your body to wake up by invigorating your stiff muscles. Integrating at least 5 minutes of stretching every morning offers powerful health benefits which you may notice after a couple of weeks. 

You literally prepare your body for future movements and have an increased ability to boost your chances of waking up faster. 

We have collected the 9 essential stretching benefits for you of stretching not only in the morning but at any part of the day 

  1. Increased range of motion
  2. Enhanced flexibility
  3. Decreased back pain
  4. Improved mood and focus
  5. Better physical performance
  6. Increased blood flow
  7. Better posture
  8. Stress Relief

benefits of stretching in the morning  

Now let’s take a closer look at all the benefits: 

Increased range of motion

If you stretch regularly, you might improve your ability to move your joints through their full range of motion, allowing greater comfort and efficiency in physical activities.

See also
Understanding The Benefits Of Bicycle Crunches To Unlock Your Core’s Potential

Research indicates that both static stretching (holding the stretch for a prolonged period of time) and dynamic stretching (actively stretching to increase the range of motion and prepare for a fast paced movement or exercise), may help extend the range of motion, promoting performance by increasing muscle pliability and alleviating stiffness (2).

Enhanced flexibility

According to research, stretching is one of the most effective ways to enhance flexibility (3). This is beneficial to your overall well-being as good flexibility allows you to perform better not only at the gym but also deal with your daily activities easily.

This applies to sitting, standing, walking, lifting, etc. 

Decreased back pain

A recent study reports that an active stretching routine helps ease lower back pain (10).

Now, more about the study: participants were assigned to 1 of 3 groups. 

Two groups had to perform 12 weekly 75-minute classes of either yoga (92 participants) or stretching exercises supervised by a licensed physical therapist. 

The researchers found that the effectiveness of stretching was similar to yoga at 6 weeks, 3 months, and 6 months.  Additionally, yoga and stretching participants reduced their medication use for back pain. Those who took yoga or stretching classes also had better back functioning to perform daily tasks. This shows that stretching in any form will have benefits for the body. 

Improved mood and focus

One research finding suggests that stretching could be an elixir for better mood and cognitive performance, helping people feel calmer and more focused on the tasks (5). Hence, instead of scrolling on the phone between your working hours to relax, try stretching and see how beneficial it could be for an upcoming task that you are about to start working on. 

Better physical performance

It’s no rocket science that with better flexibility you can perform better at the gym or other sports you like. Since stretching prepares your muscles for movements and improves flexibility, it perpetuates a decreased likelihood of injury while doing physical activities which can then catalyze increased performance in that activity. 

See also
Lunges Muscles Worked, Variations, And Benefits

Read more: This Stretching Calisthenics Routine Will Have You Loose and Limber for Your Next Workout

Increased blood flow

As we don’t move much during our sleep, our heart rate decreases and blood pressure falls. When you wake up and stretch, you help your body increase blood flow to muscles, which boosts oxygen levels and provides your muscles with essential nutrients. 

Stretching is a great metabolic waste remover, as it helps remove uric acid, carbon dioxide, and ammonia (1).

Better posture

Out of many benefits of stretching everyday, this one is arguably the most desirable as poor posture leads to back pain, especially in those who sit at their desks during working hours or follow a sedentary lifestyle. 

Research shows that regular stretching helps strengthen the affected muscle groups and improve posture (4).

Stress Relief

When we’re stressed, we may end up with tightened and tense muscles which leads to pain, especially in the neck, shoulders, back, and head. Stretching movements can help loosen muscles in response to stress and even aid your body’s ability to recover from stress (1).

benefits of stretching in the morning  

Is it good to stretch every day?

Yes, the benefits of stretching everyday will offer a number of benefits, from improved flexibility to better posture.

Many people check their phones as they wake up, which can be thought to be an effective way to refresh themselves. Yet, scrolling your phone in the morning may be harmful, whereas substituting that with stretching is a great alternative you can choose each and every day. 

You may choose Static Stretches, dynamic, or Wall Stretches. You can help your body relieve the stiffness and be more prepared for daily activities. 

To your attention, we have piled 8 powerful and easy stretching movements you can experiment with in your mornings (6). Spare 5 to 10 minutes for this and you will do your body a huge favor. 

Move#1 Vertical Stretch

  • Stand straight and extend both arms above the head as high as possible.
  • Hold like this for as long as is comfortable, while taking deep, slow breaths.
  • Repeat as desired.
See also
Thoracic Spine Mobility: Enhancing Your Upper Back Movement

Move #2 Standing stretch

  • Stand up straight and link your hands behind your back. 
  • Pull the shoulders back, then lift the clasped hands upward as far as is comfortable.
  • Hold the position while breathing deeply and slowly for 3–4 deep breaths. 
  • Repeat as desired.

Move #3 Side Stretch

  • Stand and stretch the right arm straight up.
  • Grip the right wrist with your left hand and pull the right arm gently toward the left side. Make sure the right arm is over the right ear.
  • Keep the knees straight and engage in deep, slow breathing. 
  • Hold the stretch for several breaths and return to a neutral standing position.
  • Repeat on the left side.

Move #4 Forearm Stretch

  • Stand and extend the right arm across the body toward the left side.
  • Hook the left arm around the right elbow gently pulling the right arm closer to the body.
  • Hold the position and take a few breaths. 
  • Return to a neutral position and switch sides.

Move #5 Core Stretch

  • Stand and place the left foot slightly forward, twisting the torso to the right.
  • Hold this position for several deep breaths.
  • Repeat on the other side, placing your right foot slightly forward.

Move #6 Knees-to-chest stretch

  • Lie flat on the floor, and slowly lift one knee toward the chest.
  • Hold the knee with both hands and take several deep breaths.
  • Repeat with the other leg.

Move #7 Cat-cow stretch

  • Get on all fours, placing your arms at shoulder-width apart.
  • Inhale while lowering the belly. Your back should be curved downward. Lift the tailbone and lower your stomach towards the floor. Breathe in deeply.
  • Exhale by lowering the chin downward to draw the navel up. Round your back, tucking in the tailbone. Keep the hips over the knees.
  • Repeat a few times.

Move #8 Child’s pose

  • Get in the kneeling position, and raise your arms above the head.
  • Move your arms down slowly, and stretch forward until your palms and torso touch the floor, or as close as comfortable for you. 
  • Push the hands forward, away from the body while relaxing the shoulders.
  • Hold the position for three deep breaths. 
See also
Low Impact Exercises For Seniors To Keep Fit And Healthy

Lean and toned up body isn’t just a far-fetched fantasy. Check out the BetterMe app and watch it propel your weight loss journey into high gear!

How long should I stretch in the morning?

Adults on average should spend at least 60 seconds per stretching exercise. For example, if you are able to hold one pose for 10 to 15 seconds and then repeat it on the other side, this will then count as 20 to 30 seconds. Finally repeat this same process 1 more time for the 30 second hold or 2 more times for the 20 second hold and that will get you to 60 seconds total (9). 

However, if you can hold a stretch longer or narrow it down to shorter sessions, that can be effective too.

Essentially, you need to focus on how your body feels and be sure to stay consistent with stretching. Try to stretch in the morning for a whole month. Even after the first week you could observe positive changes in your body. 

Read more: Somatic Stretching – Build Your Body Awareness Through a Soothing Motion

benefits of stretching in the morning  

FAQs

  • What happens if you don’t stretch after waking up?

If you don’t stretch after waking up, this could potentially cause your muscles to stay tense and stiff. This consequently leads to a decrease in the pliability of your muscles, which would make it challenging for them to properly extend to their full range of motion. If your muscles are weak and not pliable, you elevate your chances of muscle damage and strains. 

Still, if you’re not the early bird who wants to stretch in the morning, try to simply move your body by walking on the spot faster, doing jumping jacks, or other engaging activities that would help prevent muscle weakness.

  • What happens when you stretch first thing in the morning?

People who stretch in the morning help their bodies prepare for the upcoming day and perform daily activities more effectively and easily: they can improve their flexibility, enhance their range of motion, get a better posture, reduce lower back pain, and boost their mood and cognitive functioning.  

On top of that, they can increase their blood flow to the muscles, relieve stress, and enhance their physical performance.

  • What time of day is best to stretch?

Morning is one of the best times to stretch out since your muscles tend to get stiffer during the night because of the lack of movement. Stretching in the morning for at least 5 minutes a day is an effective ritual to invigorate your body and perform better during the day. 

Yet, if morning is not a suitable time for you, you can choose any other period of the day, since the key here is consistency which over time can turn into a positive habit and further turn into your new daily routine.

  • Can stretching make you tired?

Prolonged stretching can make you tired. Therefore, beginners should aim for shorter stretching sessions, for about 5 to 10 minutes. Yet, in some cases, we stretch when we are tired – this can help us regain power a bit and move on with our tasks. 

The Bottom Line

Stretching is a great habit everyone can integrate into their morning routine but what are the benefits of stretching in the morning?

Today we have brought out 9 major benefits of daily morning stretches. They involve an increased range of motion, enhanced flexibility, lowered back pain, improved mood and focus, better physical performance, increased blood flow, better posture, and stress relief. 

On top of that, you have learned the 8 simple stretching movements to spice up your morning routine. 

The length of stretching exercises is individual. Preferably you should spend 60 seconds per exercise. That said, with any exercise please be aware of your body and what your limitations are. Additionally, contact a medical professional to be sure that your body will be able to complete exercise or stretching without any harmful consequences.  

DISCLAIMER:

This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!

SOURCES:

  1. 9 benefits of stretching (2022, medicalnewstoday.com)
  2. Acute Effects of Dynamic Stretching on Muscle Flexibility and Performance: An Analysis of the Current Literature (2017, springer.com)
  3. Acute Effects of Stretching on Flexibility and Performance: A Narrative Review (2019, researchgate.net)
  4. Effects of a Resistance and Stretching Training Program on Forward Head and Protracted Shoulder Posture in Adolescents (2016, jmptonline.org)
  5. Effects of Acute Stretching on Cognitive Function and Mood States of Physically Inactive Young Adults (2019, sagepub.com)
  6. Morning stretches: Beginners, in bed, kids, seniors, and more (2020, medicalnewstoday.com)
  7. Pandiculation: nature’s way of maintaining the functional integrity of the myofascial system? (2011, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
  8. Stretching and Flexibility Guidelines Update (2021, acsm.org)
  9. The ideal stretching routine (2023, health.harvard.edu)
  10. Yoga or Stretching Eases Low Back Pain (2011, nih.gov)
150 million people
have chosen BetterMe

Love that the exercises are programmed…

Deb
Love that the exercises are programmed for age and ability. Quite honestly its great to have reminders to drink water, eat and weigh in etc.

An intelligent program

José S.
The exercises were intelligently planned to gradually check the limits of the practitioner. They make me sweat a lot and seem to be great to boost metabolism. I am surprised by their efficiency.

Great app

Eozk
Being able to exercise in my own time and having a chance to see the results relatively quickly compared to once a week sessions at the gym gave me the drive to keep on following the routine. I love this app