Attempting to incorporate exercise into a morning routine can be quite the challenge. The American College of Sports Medicine, however, suggests that certain types of exercise -- such as stretching -- can be especially effective in the early morning hours. All you need is an extra few minutes.
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According to NBC News, there are a number of benefits associated with stretching -- such as improvements in posture. Many people, especially those who sit in front of a computer for extended periods of time, develop poor posture as a result of overstretched back muscles and tight chest muscles. Implementing a morning routine of stretches that focus on opening these muscles can be effective for loosening them up. As these muscles become more and more flexible, changes in stance and posture will become evident.
Fewer Aches and Pains
The American Council on Exercise suggests that morning stretches can also be useful when it comes to eliminating aches and pains in the muscles and joints. While these aches and pains can develop at any time throughout the day, they often occur in the morning -- after the body has been at rest for a long period. According to Colorado Physical Therapy Specialists, morning stiffness and pain often occur because there is an increase of fluid in the joints and spinal discs overnight while the body lies horizontally. For best results, use gentle stretching to warm up the body and alleviate joint discomfort.
Increased Blood Flow
The American College of Sports Medicine says that stretching can also be useful when it comes to increasing blood flow to all parts of the body -- including the brain. Though healthy blood flow is important all day long, it may be especially crucial during the morning hours, as folks jump start their day after being asleep for several hours. Adequate blood flow increases concentration and sharpens senses.
Greater Amounts of Energy
Trying to find enough energy to make it through a long and arduous day can sometimes seem impossible. The experts at the American Council on Exercise suggest that stretching in the morning helps support your energy throughout the entire day. Stretching prevents lethargy and feelings of tiredness.
- NBC News: Stretching May Offer Extended Benefits
- American Council on Exercise; ACE's Personal Trainer Manual
- American College of Sports Medicine; ACSM's Resource Manual for Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription
- Colorado Physical Therapy Specialists: Morning Pain -- Don't Give In To It