Most people simply cannot wait until the end of the day when they get to slide into their super comfortable bed and just kind of relax and unwind. But maybe you would be better off stretching.
And while it’s tough to beat slipping off into dreamland after a quick visit from The Sand Man – especially if you’re feeling worn out and stressed out – there’s a reason why you are waking up feeling a lot stiffer than you did when you went to sleep.
As you lay down, fluid in your body is going to work its way into the soft and spongy discs in your spine but it’s also going to begin to pull up in your muscles as you stay in a stationary position for an extended amount of time. All of this fluid is going to over saturate your muscles and your discs, and when you wake up its still going to be there.
You’ll have to work that fluid out to get limber, and there are a couple of ways to do so – but nothing beats some solid stretching!
Start off with a hot shower
A lot of people dive right into stretching just as soon as they rollout of bed and there’s certainly nothing wrong with that. At the same time, you can definitely improve your stretching results (and cut down on your stretching time) by warming your body up and flushing some of that fluid out of its collected pools with a nice hot shower.
Stand under the warmest water you can handle at the end of your shower for about three minutes or so (especially targeting your back with the water) and then get to stretching. You’ll be a lot more limber than if you started off ice cold.
Start at your neck and shoulder and then work down to your toes
Because you’re going to be looking to flush fluid from your muscles and your spine, you’re going to want to start with a “top-down” kind of approach that systematically moves this fluid out of your muscles and back so that you feel a lot more limber.
Start by actively stretching out your neck, your shoulders, and your arms before you start twisting side to side and then bending down to touch your toes. After that you’ll want to do a couple of “air squats” to push the fluid out of some of the biggest muscle groups in your body – your legs and your rear end – and then you’ll want to go up to your to tippy toes to push fluid out of your extremities.