Start your morning off with a stretch before you even get out of bed.
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There's no denying the benefits of stretching. In addition to increased flexibility, stretching releases tension in the muscles, improves posture and reduces your risk for injury. A series of stretches first thing in the morning can boost your energy level, rev up your metabolism, work out muscle kinks, increase blood flow and may even reduce the symptoms of PMS. Before you grab that cup of coffee, try a stretch routine that will jump start your system and help your whole body feel better so you're ready for the day.
While Still in Bed
Before you even get out of bed, a full body stretch will get your muscles moving and ready for more intense stretches -- and it will feel great too. Women, who may be more prone to the physical symptoms stress than men, might find this full body stretch to be especially beneficial as they begin the day. Extend your arms above your head and stretch your legs with your toes pointed, for a full-body stretch. Inhale deeply and focus on your muscles, actively stretching them for several seconds.
Neck, Shoulder and Back
These are frequent problem areas for women who are prone to muscle kinks in the morning, but a few stretches will help relieve the discomfort. MayoClinic.com recommends a basic neck stretch that is done by bending your head to one side and slightly forward, then gently pulling your head down until you feel the stretch along the opposite side of your neck; repeat with the other side. Change your focus to your shoulders by bringing one arm across your chest and holding it in place with your other arm for about 30 seconds, then switch to the other shoulder. A good back stretch can be done from a sitting position on the floor. With your legs extended out, bend in the middle and reach for your toes, stretching your back muscles for 30 seconds.
Arms and Legs
To get the blood pumping in your limbs, try an upper arm stretch as well as quad, hamstring and calf stretches for your legs. Starting with your arms, raise them over your head, bending at the elbow and reaching your hand behind your head. Push on your elbow with the opposite hand, feeling the stretch in the back of your upper arm. Stretching your legs is particularly helpful for women who wear high heels as they increase circulation and ease stress on your Achilles. You can stretch all major muscle groups in your legs from a standing position. Start by bending your knee and bringing your foot toward your buttocks, holding it in place with your hand for a quadriceps stretch. Next, bend at the waist and reach for the floor, keeping your legs straight to stretch your hamstrings and calves.
Wrists and Ankles
Wake up your joints with some wrist and ankle moves to finish off your full body stretch routine. These are especially beneficial for rheumatoid arthritis sufferers, of which more than 75 percent are women. While sitting or standing, rotate your ankles, pointing your toes and drawing a circle in the air with them. For your wrists, hold your arms in front of you and bend your hands back, palms facing out, as far as you can. Then go the opposite direction, bending them forward with your palms toward your body. Making a fist and doing a few rotations with each wrist will complete the routine.