Morning Stretches - Seated twist : Half lord of the fishes pose

Wonder how you can incorporate stretches into your work morning routine? Continue reading for more wellbeing tips…

Dark, cold wintery mornings can make it hard to get up and go with the same verve as we have during the bright summer months. Luckily, by making just a few tweaks throughout the day, you can boost your energy, your mental health and overall wellbeing.

A few techniques I use to stay energised when working long days in the Form office include: drinking fresh water regularly throughout the day; making time for ‘movement snacks’, where you get up from your desk, stretch and move about to get the blood flowing back around your body; and actual snacks, low GI snacks including carrot sticks with hummus, a handful of unsalted nuts, 2 hard-boiled eggs or a banana.

And breathe…

To improve energy levels throughout your day try breathing deeply into your belly as often as possible, take long breaths in and out to calm your body and mind.

By breathing deeply throughout the day you can also benefit from:

  • Boosting your immune system
  • Improving mental health
  • Increase your cardiovascular performance
  • Increase your overall energy levels
  • Improve your sleep

The golden 10 minutes

I’ve found over the past couple of years that the best way to get your day off to a great start is to take 5-10 minutes as soon as you get out of bed to boost your energy and take a moment to pause before you rush into your day. Taking this time to reset before you start attacking your to-do list, you can approach your day from a place of stillness and calm. By making this daily routine a habit, you can improve your overall mood, wellbeing and keep your body supple and strong.

Try these 5 simple stretches that can help energise your mind and body, preparing you for the day!

Morning Stretches - Rag doll : Standing forward-fold

  1. Rag doll /  Standing forward-fold

Stand and release your upper body forwards, over your legs, letting your hands float gently to the floor, if your body will allow. Keep a gentle bend in the knees to avoid over-stretching your hamstrings. Nod and shake your head to release tension.

Benefits of this stretch include:

  • Releasing tension and stiffness from the head, neck and upper back
  • Stretch the front torso
  • Strengthens the back, improving posture
  • Stimulates the belly, improving digestion

 

Morning Stretches -Seated forward fold

2. Seated forward fold

 Sit down on the floor with your legs out in front of you. Keep a soft, relaxed bend in the knees and gently fold your upper body forwards over the top of the legs, stretch forward as far as is comfortable.

Benefits of this stretch include:

  • Calms the brain, relieving stress and mild depression
  • Stretches the spine, shoulders and hamstrings
  • Stimulates the liver, kidneys, ovaries and uterus
  • Improves digestion
  • Soothes, headache, anxiety and reduces fatigue
  • Helps relieve the symptoms of menopause and menstrual discomfort

 

Morning Stretches - Half-cobra

3. Half-cobra

Lay, belly-down, on the floor. Gently lift up the upper back away from the floor into a gentle backbend, using your forearms as support. Keep your head and neck up, with your gaze directly ahead of you. 

Benefits of this stretch include: 

  • Strengthens the spine
  • Stretches chest, lungs, shoulders and abdomen
  • Firms the buttocks
  • Stimulates abdominal organs
  • Helps relieve stress and fatigue

 

Morning Stretches - Downward-facing dog

4. Downward-facing dog

Come onto the floor, on your hands and knees. Gently push your knees away from the floor, keeping the knees slightly bent and the back as straight as possible, pushing your tailbone up into the air. Keep your head and neck relaxed. Breathe deeply. 

Benefits of this stretch include: 

  • Calms the mind, helping to relieve stress and depression
  • Energise the body
  • Stretches the shoulders, hamstrings, calves and hands
  • Strengthens the arms and legs
  • Improves digestion
  • Relieves headache, insomnia, back pain and fatigue

 

Morning Stretches - Seated twist : Half lord of the fishes pose

5. Seated twist / Half lord of the fishes pose

Sit on the floor with both legs straight out in front of you, bending the left knee, slide the left foot underneath the right buttock. Step the right foot over the top of the left leg, with the right knee pointing directly up to the ceiling. Take the right arm behind you and look directly behind you. Breathe deeply into your twist.

Benefits of this stretch include: 

  • Stretches the shoulders, hips and neck
  • Stimulates the liver and kidneys
  • Energise the spine
  • Stimulates digestive system
Heidi Benham is co-founder of Form: the carbon-negative fitness company. With a range of beautiful, high-performance and eco-friendly fitness products, Form is leading change within the fitness and well-being industry to make sustainable design the standard, not the exception. Click here to read more about their story.

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