Stretching can be a healthy way to start your day. Morning back stretches can relieve any back tightness or soreness caused by an awkward sleeping position or an old mattress. There are some things to consider before you start a new stretching regimen, though, to prevent injury.
Consult Your Doctor
Before starting a stretching or exercise regimen, consult your doctor or medical professional. This is especially important if you have any joint issues or muscle injuries or conditions. If you do have a particular condition, your doctor will recommend stretches that are safe for you to do.
Even though stretching may feel instinctive as you get out of bed, hold off doing any major stretching. Stretching cold muscles can pull them and cause pain. Before you stretch, warm up your muscles by doing five to 10 minutes of light exercise. This type of exercise can consist of walking around your bedroom or using a stationary bike, for example.
Once you are warmed up, you can start your stretches. Some stretches that are good for the back can be done while standing up. Some of these stretches include the low back stretch, extended arm-side stretch, the stretch and reach, and the spine lengthener. To do the spine lengthener, look straight ahead with your feet together and your arms at your sides. Inhale as you imagine someone pulling your head toward the ceiling. Exhale while you stretch your neck and spine towards the ceiling and push your shoulder blades together. You hold this stretch for five to 30 seconds while breathing as you normally would.
Lying or Kneeling Stretches
Other back stretches require that you lie down or kneel on the floor, so having an exercise mat in your bedroom may be a good idea if you plan on stretching there. Some lying stretches are the abdominal stretch, the stretcher, low back stretch, cat stretch and the cobra stretch. The cat stretch, for example, is very simple to do. To do it, get on your hands and knees as if your were pretending to be a cat. Inhale, arch your back up as you move your head down and hold your chin against your upper chest. Breath normally and hold the pose for five to 30 seconds for a complete stretch. Repeat five more times.
Sitting stretches will require sitting on either a chair or the floor. A straight-backed kitchen chair is suitable for several stretching exercises. Some sitting exercises include the spine twist, seated spinal twist, low-back hamstring stretch, cross-legged spine stretch and the seated neck nod. To do the cross-legged spine stretch, sit on the floor and cross your legs with the heel of each foot tucked under the opposite knee. Place your hands on the floor beside you and slide them forward while exhaling and bending your back as you move forward. Get your head as close to the floor in front of you as possible and then hold the stretch for five to 30 seconds. Breath normally while you hold the stretch, and then inhale as you roll your back into the starting position.
Since 1998 Alina McKee has written for dozens of traditional and online beauty, fashion, health and parenting publications including Pregnancy.org, Mama Health and Real Beauty. As a professional artist, her articles about these subjects have been used in magazines and websites around the globe. McKee has a diploma in fine art from Stratford Art School.