It’s tough getting up in the mornings, especially now they’re getting colder and darker as we move into winter. First thing in the morning is a “high-risk” time for low backs as you try and go from relaxed to full-speed-ahead in a matter of seconds; our brains aren’t quite in full gear yet, meaning movements aren’t properly co-ordinated (ever stumbled on your way from bed to bathroom?) It’s pretty common to feel some stiffness and aching first thing in the morning, so I thought I’d share with you some stretches to gently ease out the tensions as you start your day.
- Before you get out of bed, spend two minutes laying on your back, slowly flattening out and then arching in your low back. No need to lift your hips off the bed, just roll and slide your pelvis.
- Next, bring one knee up towards your chest and hold behind it; then the other knee. Pull your knees in towards your chest with your hands to open out your low back. Hold on to the stretch for a few seconds, then relax and repeat.
- Come up so you’re sitting on the edge of the bed. Put your hands on your hips and, whilst exhaling, twist as far as you can to one side. Hold for a few seconds before breathing in and returning to centre. Repeat to the other side, and do the whole thing four or five times.
- Now put your hands in the small of your back and lean backwards, exhaling gently as you go.
- Before you stand up, spend a minute flexing each ankle – forward and back, and in circles each way. This not only helps wake your feet up, ready to balance you as you stand, but is great for calf muscles and circulation.
- Stand up – now interlink your fingers, palms up, behind your low back, and squeeze your knees straight and your bottom in. Take a deep breath in, then as you exhale, tuck your chin in, push your hands down towards the floor so your arms lengthen, and squeeze your shoulders back and down. Hold for a few seconds, then repeat two or three times.
- Reward yourself with a cup of coffee (or tea, if you’re so inclined!)
- Enjoy your morning, knowing your body is awake and prepared for the day.Of course, it’s my duty to make you aware that not all exercises suit everyone, so if you have any doubts or are suffering from injury or illness, seek advice from a professional.