The next time you wake up feeling stiff, Samuel Chan, physical therapist at Bespoke Treatments in New York, recommends you give these four tension-relieving moves a try.
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1. Figure Four Windshield Wiper
- Lie on your back with your arms stretched out to the sides.
- Place your feet flat on the bed, knees pointing up.
- Cross your right ankle over your left knee.
- Keeping your upper body in place, let your left knee drop over to your left side.
- Hold here for 15 seconds, then switch sides.
Keep your hands out at your sides as you rotate left and right, Chan says. Only drop your lower half as low as you can while keeping your shoulder blades against the bed.
2. Side-Lying Twist
- Lie on your back with your arms out to the sides in a T shape.
- Bring your feet flat on the bed about a foot away from your butt, knees pointing up.
- Keeping your upper body flat against the bed, drop both knees over to the right.
- Turn your gaze to the left.
- Hold here for 15 seconds, then repeat on the opposite side.
3. Knees to Chest
- Begin lying on your back.
- Keeping your shoulder blades against the bed, hug both knees into your chest, wrapping your arms around your knees.
- As your body loosens up, hug the knees closer into your body.
4. Prone Press Up
- Begin lying on your stomach, palms under your shoulders.
- Slowly, on an exhale, press into your palms and begin to straighten your arms.
- Bring the shoulders back and open the chest. Hold here.
"Let your arms do the work, not your lower back," Chan says. Squeeze the glutes as you straighten the arms to prevent tension in the lower back.