Our bodies are totally different physically and chemically in the moment right before bed compared with when we rise in the morning. It’s super important to be mindful of our body’s needs and capabilities so that we can align with our muscles and mental state for a mind-body connection.
Mara Kimowitz, owner of StretchSource, knows exactly what the bod calls for when it comes to a perfect way to rise and warm up, as well as relax and power down for optimal rest.
“In the morning, you want to do dynamic stretches to help increase blood flow, warmth, and circulation,” Kimowitz explains. We may feel pressed for time in the mornings and want to jump straight into our workout if we are going to squeeze it in, but the warm-up is crucial. It’s not an optional add-on, and it’s not a would-be-nice. Jumping into a workout with cold, half-asleep muscles could result in serious injury.
Not only that, but increased circulation and blood flow prior to an intense workout will mean a better quality workout, aiding in sculpting and weight loss. Boosted circulation will give your skin that healthy glow and help to de-puff the face, before even having to touch it. It also helps to jumpstart lymphatic flow and metabolism. Need we say more?
These are Kimowitz’s three go-to morning moves.
Begin marching slowly and swinging your arms. Keep your arms straight to add stretch through the elbows. Lift your knees to add stretch to your hips.
Zipper down and up with bent knees:
Begin standing with good posture, feet hip-width apart and knees bent slightly. Drop your chin to your chest and begin rolling down to the floor. Imagine your spine is a zipper coming undone. Un-zipper your spine going down and zipper together back up to standing.
Begin standing with straight legs and good posture. Lift your arms straight out to the side without tension in your neck. Holding your arms out to the side, lift your chest and eyes to the ceiling. This is your titanic moment with wind in your hair.”
We’re all about this dramatic imagery. We intend to rise like Rose before all of our workouts! The evening is a different story. Kimowitz tells us that we’ll want to do “static stretches that relieve tension, decrease anxiety, and calm the nervous system.”
Stand with your feet together while holding and facing a wall. Grab hold of one ankle and lift the foot to your buttocks. Try to remain standing up with good posture and keeping inner thighs touching.
Stand facing and holding the wall. Take a few steps back, keeping hands on the wall. Walk your hands down the wall and make an L shape with your body. You can bend your knees or keep them straight depending on comfort.
Shoulder opener with hands clasped behind back:
Begin standing with bent knees and good posture. Clasp your hands behind your back. (If unable to do so, take a belt and hold each end of the belt behind you.) Keeping your hands clasped, reach your hands away from your body and open your shoulders and chest.”
And don’t worry, this won’t take all day, Kimowitz assures us. “For all six stretches, hold each one for 15-30 seconds before moving on to the next one. If you can only do 15 seconds at first, that’s OK. Work up your stamina each day to get to that 30-second mark.” Time to loosen up.
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