5 min read

Morning Stretches to Wake Up Your Body and Mind

By: Kristina Lauer

Good morning, sunshine! Whether you’re an early riser or a late sleeper, a quick morning exercise will wake up your joints and get your blood moving. Here are our tips to getting physical in the AM, plus morning stretches to get your day started.

Why should I work out in the morning?

It’s early in the morning and your alarm is ringing. As much as you’d like to stay in bed, you force yourself to get up anyway. Half awake, you head to the kitchen, longing for a cup of coffee to relieve fatigue. It’s good, but do you know what will wake you up even better? A quick, morning workout!

Though breaking a sweat might be the last thing you want to do after crawling out of bed, it will actually make you energized and ready to conquer your day. Exercising right after waking up activates your whole body at once.

But what exactly do we mean by “morning exercises”? Don’t worry — there’s no need to try your hardest during an AM workout sesh. Light exercises will mobilize your joints and get your blood moving without being too physically demanding for your sleepy body.

Joint mobility is especially limited in the morning because we don’t move much when we sleep. Gentle stretching and mobility training will wake up these parts of your body just as well as a cup of coffee stimulates your mind.

Mobility exercises wake up the cartilage in your joints by providing them with energizing nutrients. Stretching gets the blood flow moving through all the different aspects of your musculoskeletal system.

Frau liegt im Bett
©GeorgeRudy

How do morning workouts affect the body?

If you’re not a morning person, you probably break out in a cold sweat at the mere thought of working out so early. But it’s not just early risers who can benefit from a good morning workout. Physical activities supply the blood with oxygen and stimulate the metabolismtwo things that can help you overcome morning fatigue more quickly.

Our tip: Turn on your favorite music and open the nearest window. Just doing this will put you in a better mood when you wake up. Light workouts also help you start the day in a happy way by stimulating your body with happiness hormones serotonin and dopamine.

Gentle mobility exercises and soothing stretches can relieve tension and make you more flexible overall. A ten-minute workout is all it takes to reap the benefits of morning exercise. To fit it into your schedule, simply set your alarm 10 to 20 minutes earlier than you usually would.

Exercising each morning can bring structure to your daily life. And adding workouts to your AM routine can help you be more productive in general. Starting your day with a positive attitude can make you better prepared for the tasks ahead.

Having a nutritious breakfast is another way to ensure you feel great all day. Not sure what to cook? Our blueberry protein pancakes are hearty and nutritious yet totally tasty, too.

A plate of blueberry pancakes dressed with a giant pat of butter, drizzled with maple syrup, and studded with blueberries
©foodspring
Discover our Protein Pancakes Recipe

Overview of the Benefits of Morning Exercises

  • They’re quick
  • They wake you up
  • They add extra time to your morning
  • They help you stay more focused for the rest of the day
  • They improve flexibility and prevent tension from forming
  • They put you in in a better mood and make you feel healthier
  • They bring more structure and productivity to daily life
  • They help you avoid becoming distracted.
  • They activate the entire body
  • They activate blood circulation

Who Should Work Out in the Morning?

In short: everyone! Morning workouts don’t overwork your body and can be done quickly. Both beginners and advanced athletes can benefit from morning mobility stretches. Anyone at any age can incorporate exercise into their morning routine.

Morning Exercise: 6 Great Moves

You don’t need any equipment, instructors, or videos to do our morning stretch sequence. In fact, you can even do some of these workouts right in bed in just 10 or 15 minutes!

Start by stretching!

A long-haired person seen from behind does morning stretches in their bed, stretching their arms above their head.
©Kulthavach Kultanan / EyeEm

Sit upright on the edge of your bed. Keep your back straight and your feet on the floor. Lift your right hand and lean towards the ceiling. Hold this position for a few seconds before repeating on the other side. Do 8 reps of this stretch on each side. This is a great upper body and neck stretch to start the day.

Sit upright on the edge of your bed. Keep your back straight and your feet on the floor. Lift your right hand and lean towards the ceiling. Hold this position for a few seconds before repeating on the other side. Do 8 repetitions of this stretch on each side. This is a great upper body and neck stretch to start the day.

Look Side to Side

Now it’s time to stand up. Keep your feet hip-width apart as you slowly start to turn your head from right to left without moving your shoulders. Again, do 8 reps per side.

Windmill

Extend your legs until they are far apart. Reach your arms out to the side, keeping them at shoulder height. Focus on keeping your arms straight throughout the exercise. Now, touch your right foot with your left hand. The right leg should be bent while the left leg is extended and the right arm should be pointing upwards while the back remains straight. Return to the starting position and begin again on the other side. Repeat 8 times per side.

Lunge mobilization

Three athletes in sports gear inside a brick-walled gym do a deep lunge/warrior stretch, with one hand on the floor and the other reaching up high to the ceiling.
©kupicoo

Move your body into a deep lunge by taking a big step forward with your right leg while keeping the left leg outstretched towards the back. Keep your feet flat against the ground as you progress deeper into the pose. Place both hands on the ground next to your right foot. Release your right arm from the ground and turn your torso to face your leg. Keep your right arm extended up towards the ceiling. Return your right arm to the starting position and open up again. Repeat 8 times on each side. This morning exercise is a great quad stretch.

Cobra

A white woman does a cobra pose as part of her morning stretches.
©fizkes

Cobra is a yoga pose that’s great for improving back mobility. Begin lying on your stomach and place your hands on the floor next to your shoulders. Pressing down on your hands, push yourself so that your back forms an arch. Keep your shoulder blades away from your ears and your feet planted firmly on the ground. Hold this position for a few breaths, then return to the floor. Repeat 8 times.

Cat-cow pose

A white woman on a yoga mat on a pier at a tree-lined lake with mist rising up from the water performs a cat-cow stretch
©AzmanL

Place both hands and knees on the ground. Hands should be placed shoulder-width apart and knees hip width. As you breathe out, round your back, neck, and head into the shape of a cat. As you breathe in, arch your back inward like a cow. Repeat 8 times.

And you’re done! Do you see just how quick and easy that is. And it’ll set you up for a great day!

Conclusion

  • Working out in the morning is healthy for everyone.
  • Morning exercises can help you develop a productive morning routine and improve flexibility.
  • Morning workouts involve simple exercises that don’t take long to do and don’t require any equipment.
  • Morning workouts can put you in a better mood and wake you right up.
Article sources
We at foodspring use only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial policy to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.