A health coach shares 7 stretches she does each morning to maintain her physique ‘younger and wholesome’

My morning stretches to improve mobility

As a fitness trainer, I always focus on improving my mobility; it keeps my body young and healthy.

I recommend doing mobility stretches in the morning, when your body feels most sore from sleeping. Here are the stretches I do every day:

1. Hip Car

This exercise challenges your full range of motion for nearly a full 360 degrees, working your full range hip mobility. Hip CARs “wake up” your glutes, hamstrings, core, and abductors.

Start with your hands and knees on the ground.

Photo: Health Day

Hip CARs “wake up” your glutes, hamstrings, core, and abductors.

Photo: Health Day

How to do it:

  1. Start with your hands and knees on the ground.
  2. While keeping your spine neutral and not shifting your weight, lift one leg out to the side and bend it behind you.
  3. Return your feet to the floor, then reverse the movement.
  4. Repeat six to eight times in each direction, on each leg.

2. Hip Stretch 90/90

We are often in a neutral hip position (that is, when sitting or walking), so this rotation can increase hip mobility and reduce low back pain by strengthening the muscles that support the back.

Life often places you on the “neutral” hip, so rotating your hips can reduce low back pain and increase hip mobility.

Photo: Health Day

How to do it:

  1. Sit with your feet in a 90/90 position. One knee should be out to the side, bent at a 90-degree angle, with the bottom of your leg facing backwards. Place the other knee in front of you, bent at a 90-degree angle, with the bottom of your leg facing out.
  2. If this position alone is enough to stretch you, stay there for 30 to 60 seconds on each side.
  3. If you want to add extra movement, try leaning forward (lead with your chest, and don’t round your back). You will feel an intense stretch on the outside of the hip in the forefoot. Hold for three seconds, then sit back down.
  4. Repeat 10 times on each side.

3. Adductor Active Stretch

Your adductors (inner thighs) tend to be tight. These tense muscles can reduce the range of motion in your hip and cause knee pain. This stretch focuses on adductor mobility.

Your adductors (inner thighs) tend to be tight, which can cause knee pain. This stretch focuses on actively stretching the adductor.

Photo: Health Day

How to do it:

  1. Start with your hands and knees, but with your knees slightly wider than your hips.
  2. Extend and straighten one leg to the side.
  3. Slowly rock your body back and forth.
  4. Repeat 10 times on each side.

4. Cat-Cow Pose

This movement helps improve spinal health by strengthening and stretching the muscles that support and control your spine.

Start with your hands and knees. Push your body away from the floor and roll back.

Photo: Health Day

Arch your back and look up at the ceiling. Repeat 10 times in each direction.

Photo: Health Day

How to do it:

  1. Start with your hands and knees.
  2. Push your body away from the floor and roll back. Your head will end up between your arms.
  3. Arch your back and look up at the ceiling.
  4. Repeat 10 times in each direction.

5. Spinal Round 6T

I’ve seen a lot of people turn their backs by slightly twisting and stretching to grab something. Increasing mobility and exercising the body in this circular motion can teach the body to move safely.

Sit on the chair. Then bend down and grab the inside of your right ankle with your right arm.

Photo: Health Day

Increasing mobility and exercising the body in this circular motion can teach the body to move safely.

Photo: Health Day

How to do it:

  1. Sit on the chair.
  2. Grasp the inside of your right ankle with your right arm.
  3. Start with your left hand on your right, then hold your arm straight and slowly twist it until your left arm reaches toward the ceiling.
  4. Repeat 10 times on each side.

6. CAR Shoulder

As a ball-in-socket joint, the shoulder can move in multiple directions. This shoulder loop challenges and increases your range of motion, reducing the chance of shoulder and neck pain.

First, bring one hand in front of you.

Photo: Health Day

Reach the arm as high as possible.

Photo: Health Day

Shoulder CAR reduces the chance of shoulder and neck pain by challenging your range of motion.

Photo: Health Day

The neck loop stretches and relaxes the neck, increasing mobility and relieving tension.

Photo: Health Day

Remember that this exercise is not for everyone. If you have a physical condition or health problem, consult your doctor first.

Photo: Health Day

How to do it:

  1. Clasp your hands behind your back to help “pull” your shoulders back.
  2. Start with your chin to your chest, then slowly turn your head so that your right ear points toward your right shoulder.
  3. Slowly look up at the ceiling and continue the circle so that the left ear falls to the left shoulder, then return the chin to the chest.
  4. Reverse direction.
  5. If any position in this circle feels extra tense, pause and allow the stretch to occur for about 30 seconds before continuing.
  6. Do three to four circles in each direction.

Remember that this exercise is not for everyone. If you have a physical condition or health problem, consult your doctor before trying any of the stretches.

Stephanie Mellinger is a certified personal trainer, corrective exercise specialist and nutritionist. He is also the founder of a fitness company Everything happened and writer for Health Day. Follow him on Instagram @omnia_fit_.

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