New to Stretching? Try This!

Do you feel stiff and lethargic in the morning, even after a good night’s sleep? You’re not alone. “Whenever you’re inactive for long periods of time — sitting at a desk, stuck in traffic, binging your favorite show, asleep in bed — your muscles and connective tissues can become tight and your joints can become lubricated less effectively,” says Autumn Calabrese, Beachbody Super Trainer and best-selling author. She says that you can experience stiffness when waking up after several hours of lying in the same position but states that the real culprit is likely lack of movement throughout the day. Her advice: Incorporate some morning stretches to kick-start your day. 

Stretching — whether first thing in the morning, post-workout or any other time — can increase circulation, help make your muscles more supple and trigger a feedback loop between your muscles and nervous system that signals your muscles to relax, says Calabrese. “The result is less stiffness and greater ease of movement,” she says.

Fitness experts in the Good Housekeeping Institute Wellness Lab teamed up with Calabrese to share the best morning stretches to start your day. They don’t require any special equipment, making them perfect for beginners. These static stretches involve stretching and holding a position for a certain amount of time, about 15 to 30 seconds at least to help trigger a relaxation response in your muscles.

Excerpted from Good Housekeeping

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