This 5-minute morning mobility routine will banish stiffness pronto

At the ripe old age of 25, I’m constantly astounded by how stiff I am when I wake up. 

My joints feel tight and immovable, and my lower back is always stiff to the point that if I don’t do something about it, I can barely access the range of motion of a 70-year-old who hasn’t exercised for decades. 

According to strength, conditioning and mobility coach Kate Whapples, it’s actually fairly normal to wake up feeling stiff.

‘Your body produces anti-inflammatory proteins in differing amounts between the day and night, these are at their lowest as you first wake,’ she tells 

‘Once you’re awake and your body’s biological clock is started, these proteins gradually increase, making movement easier and giving the feeling of more flexibility and less pain within joints.’ 

However, if you sleep in a suboptimal position, such as belly down or with a twisted spine, or in a really cold room, you might experience more stiffness than if you didn’t do those things. The same goes for sitting in the same position all day every day.

How to relieve morning stiffness

Lower back pain is often the sign of general stiffness in the morning, and contrary to popular belief, it’s not just caused by back problems themselves.

‘Often, the problem stems from tight hamstrings, hip flexors, piriformis (which runs from the bottom of your spine to the top of your thigh) and quads, too,’ says Kate, who offers a six-week mobility programme. 

‘Stretching these is important to combat lower back stiffness.’

Kate recommends spending five minutes when you wake up stretching your muscles, making sure to breathe and relax while not pushing yourself too hard first thing in the morning. 

Try this sequence, holding each post for 30 second on each side and repeating three times.

Pigeon pose 

Crucifix pose

Figure four piriformis stretch

Lizard lunge

Downward dog

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