Got arthritis, lupus or another illness that compromises movement? Waking up with stiff joints in the morning? Feel as if you’re learning to walk for the first time? These simple stretching exercises limber up joints for the day ahead. For best results, do them in order from one to five.
1. The good morning stretch.
Upon awakening, lie flat on your back, extending arms and legs. Think of your arms as the North Pole and your legs as the South Pole. Stretch out as far as you can in both directions. Now stretch your fingers outward like fans. Repeat this motion several times. Point your toes toward you, then downward. Repeat this several times as well.
2. The leg pump.
There are several exercises you can do while still in position for the good morning stretch. This is the first. Now that you’re all warmed up, practice your leg motions for the day. Raise both legs. Lower and raise them alternately, while bending at the knee. This will loosen up cold stiff knee joints to help you prepare for walking.
3. The bicycle.
If you’re limber enough, raise your hips slightly off the bed to do the bicycle. This is an exercise you may remember from your childhood. You simply lay on your back while pedaling your legs as if you were riding a bike. It’s a very beneficial stretch.
Note: Joints that remain cold and stationary overnight may refuse to work in the morning. For that reason, you should always do the good morning stretch and the leg pump before attempting the bicycle.
4. Clap and clench your hands.
This may sound like a silly activity, but it really does help both the back and hand muscles. For this exercise, extend your arms outward, while still lying on your back. Clap your hands when they meet. Then cross your arms and stretch. Go back to the original position while clenching and un-clenching your fists. Repeat several times until your back muscles and hand joints are warm.
5. Sit, stand and bend.
For this last easy exercise, sit on the edge of the bed. Press on your toes, lifting heels from the ground, while remaining seated. Next, place your heels on the ground while lifting and stretching your toes. Now stand and bend at the waist. Repeat this until you’re steady on your feet. You can zap stiff, sore morning joints by doing all five exercises daily before starting your day.
Please note: The author is not a licensed medical professional. This article is not intended to replace professional medical advice.