10-Minute Morning Stretch Routine to Increase Circulation

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If you wake up stiff and groggy, try this easy morning routine to boost your energy and get your blood flowing.

Physical exercise like stretching and yoga has a whole host of benefits to offer, especially when performed first thing in the morning. Starting your day with a stretching routine will help relieve joint pain and stiffness, increase circulation, improve energy and mood, regulate hormones and even boost focus and memory. (12345)

While it might be tempting to snooze for another ten minutes, this 10-minute morning routine might be just the motivation you need. You’ll banish those early morning joint pains and set the stage for a productive day.

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Use this quick 10-minute stretching routine every morning upon waking to beat morning stiffness and start your day feeling energized. All you need is an exercise mat and a yoga block or pillow.

Yoga Spinal Twists | 10 breaths per side


This energizing breathing exercise helps to promote the flow of energy up the spine and throughout the body.

  1. Start seated on the floor with your legs crossed and your hips supported by a yoga block or pillow. Lift your arms up and bend your elbows to 90-degree angles, bringing your elbows in line with your shoulders. Make soft fists with your hands.
  2. Inhale through your nose and twist your torso to the right. Then, exhale through your nose and twist to the left. Repeat for 10 rounds of breath.
  3. Come back to the center, then switch directions by inhaling as you twist to the left and exhaling as you twist to the right. Repeat for 10 rounds of breath, then come back to the center.

Seated Side Bends | 30 sec per side


This stretch opens up the lats, obliques, and intercostal muscles that get tight as we sleep.

  1. Begin seated on the floor with your legs crossed and your hips supported by a pillow.
  2. Inhale and reach your arms above your head. Then, place your right hand on the floor next to your right hip and exhale as you reach your left arm up and over your head.
  3. Turn your left palm to face down and keep your left hip rooted into the pillow. Breathe space into your left side as you hold for 30 seconds. Then, switch sides.

Puppy Pose | 30 sec


This stretch reverses blood flow, supplying your brain with fresh oxygen while opening up the chest, shoulders, triceps, and back.

  1. Start in a tabletop position on your hands and knees. Your hips should be stacked right over your knees.
  2. Keeping your hips stationary, walk your hands forward to lower your chest and forehead to the ground. Straighten your arms out in front of you until you feel a stretch through your shoulders and sides.
  3. Hold for 30 seconds.

Standing Forward Fold with Neck Traction | 30 sec


This stretch opens up the hamstrings, glutes, and lower back while allowing fresh blood to flow towards the brain to help wake you up.

  1. Start standing with your feet hips-width distance apart. Keep a small bend in the knees and engage your abs.
  2. On an exhale, fold forward with a flat back and bring your hands to the ground. Make sure the knees are bent enough so that your belly and chest rest on your thighs.
  3. Interlace your hands behind the nape of your neck and apply very gentle pressure. Allow your weight to shift slightly towards your toes and let everything hang as your entire backside lengthens.
  4. Hold for 30 seconds, then release your hands to the ground and stand back up by rolling up slowly one vertebra at a time.

Standing Quad Stretch | 30 sec per side


This stretch opens up hip flexors and quads, which is a great preventative stretch if you’re going to be sitting at your desk all day.

  1. Begin standing with your feet hips-width distance apart.
  2. Engage your abs and lift your right heel up and towards your butt.
  3. Reach back with your right hand and catch the top of your foot. Then, bring your knees in line with one another and lift up through your chest. Press your hip bones forward to feel the stretch through your right quad and hip.
  4. Hold for 30 seconds, then switch sides.

Seated Figure 4 | 30 sec per side


This seated stretch helps to move blood flow into the outer hips, inner thighs, and glutes, which is extra helpful for those with desk jobs.

  1. Start sitting with your knees bent and your feet on the ground. Place your hands back behind you to lean onto your palms.
  2. Cross your right ankle on top of your left thigh right above the knee. Flex your foot so it is active.
  3. Lift your chest and engage your abs to feel a stretch through your outer right hip. Scoot your hips closer to your left heel to deepen the stretch.
  4. Hold for 30 seconds, then switch sides.

Twisted Low Lunge | 30 sec per side


This active stretch will get your blood flowing, loosen up your spine, and open up tight hips.

  1. Start in a low lunge position with your right foot between your hands and your left leg behind you. Place your left knee on the ground and untuck your toes.
  2. Engage your abs by drawing your navel in. Inhale as you slowly lift your hands off the ground, bringing your chest upright and reaching your arms above your head.
  3. Tilt your tailbone slightly down towards the ground and draw the front of your ribs together. Relax your shoulders.
  4. Exhale and twist to the right, reaching your left hand forward and placing your right hand on your lower back. You should feel a stretch through the front of your left hip and a release through your spine and lower back.
  5. Hold for 30 seconds, then switch sides.

Bridge with Bound Arms | 30 sec


This bridge variation stretches the chest and shoulders, moves blood flow towards your brain, gets your heart rate up, and strengthens the muscles around the spine.

  1. Begin lying down on your back. Bend your knees and place your feet hips-width distance apart on the ground. Let your arms lie down alongside your body, reaching your fingertips towards your toes. Draw your navel up and in.
  2. Press into your palms and inhale to your lift your hips up towards the sky. Interlace your hands underneath your lower back and shimmy your shoulders under your shoulder blades.
  3. Keep your feet firmly rooted on the ground and your knees in line with your toes. Relax your glutes and lift your hip bones towards the sky. You should feel the front of your body stretching and the back of your body strengthening.
  4. Hold for 30 seconds, then release by slowly lowering down one vertebra at a time.


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