Think about your morning routine—you probably get up out of bed (possibly after pressing snooze a few times), brush your teeth, maybe make breakfast or coffee, and start getting ready for work. If that sounds about right, there's one thing you might be leaving out: stretching.
For those of you who aren't serial stretchers, the whole practice might seem pointless, but there are actually quite a few benefits you can get out of incorporating an AM stretch session into your day. For one, it can help you wake up because it increases blood flow throughout your body, according to Prevention. If you often wake up feeling that post-snooze sluggishness, a little stretching can go a long way.
Aside from helping you perk up, it can help your health, too. Prevention reported that a 2011 study found that stretching can actually lower your blood sugar. Participants in the study who stretched for 40 minutes after having a sugary drink had lower blood sugar levels than those who didn't. Stretching can also increase your mobility and range of motion, and improve your balance.
Perhaps the best benefit (or at least the one you'll feel the most)? Stretching might just help you feel less stressed out. Some light stretching can help your muscles relax and ease (both physical and mental) tension.
Something to remember before you become a stretching machine: make sure you're easing into every movement. Charles Drass, a personal trainer, told Prevention that you should be able to relax into a stretch—any pain means you're not doing it correctly, so don't push yourself too hard.
Resources for Your Routine
If you'd prefer to have a video guide you through your new morning stretch routine, this 15-minute session from Greatist can help.
For stretches that you can do in bed—and that will slowly ease you up and into the real world—try this 10-minute routine from Little Green Dot.
These 5 moves from POPSUGAR Fitness will only take an extra few minutes out of your morning, and they're totally worth it.
And for a quick full-body stretch routine to start your day, try these 6 stretches from RealSimple.