Fitness trainer shares 7 stretches she does every morning to keep her body ‘young and healthy’

Fitness trainer shares 7 stretches she does every morning to keep her body ‘young and healthy’
Fitness trainer shares 7 stretches she does every morning to keep her body ‘young and healthy’

My morning stretches to improve my mobility

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

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

1. Hip CARs

This exercise challenges your range of motion for almost 360 degrees, training your full hip mobility. CAR hips “wake up” your glutes, hamstrings, core, and abductors.

Start with your hands and knees on the floor.

Photo: Health Day

CAR hips “wake up” your glutes, hamstrings, core, and abductors.

Photo: Health Day

How to do:

  1. Start with your hands and knees on the floor.
  2. While keeping your spine neutral and without shifting your weight, lift one leg out to the side and bend it behind you.
  3. Bring your leg back to the ground, then reverse the movement.
  4. Repeat six to eight times in each direction, on each leg.

2. 90/90 hip stretch

We’re often in a neutral hip position (meaning when we’re sitting or walking), so these rotations can improve hip mobility and reduce lower back pain by strengthening the muscles that support the back.

Life often puts you in a “neutral” hip, so hip rotation can reduce lower back pain and improve hip mobility.

Photo: Health Day

How to do:

  1. Sit with your legs in a 90/90 position. One knee should be out to the side, bent at a 90 degree angle, with the bottom of your foot facing backwards. Place the other knee in front of you, bent at 90 degrees, with the bottom of your foot turned to the side.
  2. If this position alone is enough for you to stretch, 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 intensified stretch in the outer part of your hip on the front leg. Hold the position for three seconds, then sit down.
  4. Repeat 10 times on each side.

3. Active adductor stretching

Your adductors (inner thighs) tend to be tense. These tight muscles can reduce the hip’s range of motion and cause knee pain. This stretch emphasizes the mobility of the adductors.

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

Photo: Health Day

How to do:

  1. Start on 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 move helps improve spinal health by strengthening and stretching the muscles that support and control your spine.

Start on your hands and knees. Lift your body off the floor and round your 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:

  1. Start on your hands and knees.
  2. Lift your body off the floor and round your 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. 6T Spine Twist

I have seen many people adjust their backs by slightly twisting and stretching to pick something up. Improving mobility and training the body in this twisting motion can teach the body how to move safely.

Zoom in icon Arrows pointing out

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

Photo: Health Day

Zoom in icon Arrows pointing out

Improving mobility and training the body in this twisting motion can teach the body how to move safely.

Photo: Health Day

How to do:

  1. Sit on a chair.
  2. Grab the inside of your right ankle with your right arm.
  3. Start with your left hand next to your right, then hold your right arm and slowly rotate until your left arm reaches the ceiling.
  4. Repeat 10 times on each side.

6. Shoulder RAC

As a ball joint, the shoulders can move in many different directions. These shoulder circles challenge and improve your range of motion, reducing the risk of shoulder and neck pain.

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First, bring one arm out in front of you.

Photo: Health Day

Zoom in icon Arrows pointing out

Reach that arm as high as you can.

Photo: Health Day

Zoom in icon Arrows pointing out

Shoulder CARs reduce the risk of shoulder and neck pain by challenging your range of motion.

Photo: Health Day

How to do:

  1. Bring one arm out in front of you, thumb up, and stretch as high as you can.
  2. Continue the circle by reaching behind you without turning your torso.
  3. Rotate your hand so that your palm faces outward and your thumb continues to face the ceiling. It should be a slow move as you continuously move against your end range.
  4. Make six to eight circles on each arm.

7. Neck Circles

The neck and shoulders are where many people experience stress and body tension, so relaxing these muscles can relieve general tension and may even help reduce headaches.

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Neck circles stretch and relax the neck, improving mobility and relieving tension.

Photo: Health Day

Zoom in icon Arrows pointing out
Zoom in icon Arrows pointing out

Keep in mind that these exercises are not for everyone. If you have any physical condition or health problems, consult your doctor first.

Photo: Health Day

How to do:

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

Keep in mind that these exercises are not for everyone. If you have any physical condition or health concerns, consult your doctor before trying any of the stretches.

Stephanie Mellinger is a certified personal trainer, corrective exercise specialist and nutritionist. She is also the founder of the fitness company Omnia Cup and a writer for health day. Follow her on Instagram @omnia_fit_.

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