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Friday, February 8, 2013

Bedtime Stretching Routine

In addition to my nighttime skincare and teeth cleaning routine, one thing I love to do before I hop into bed is stretch. It’s a great way to wind down and relax. And not only is it relaxing, stretching is great for your body.

Head and Neck
  • Slowly roll your head in a circle three times. First, to the right then to the left. 
  • Gently press your chin into your chest to stretch the back of your neck. Place your head backward to stretch the front of your neck.
  • Gently press your right ear to your right shoulder to stretch the side of your neck. Switch sides.

Upper Body and Arms
  • Make big forward circles with your arms. Switch and move your arms backward.
  • With your arms at your sides make forward then backward circles with your shoulders.
  • Raise your right arm above your head and bend at the elbow so your hand is resting on your upper back. Use the opposite arm to gently pull your elbow to the left. Switch arms.
  • Place your right arm straight out in front of you then bring it across your body. Place your left hand on your elbow and gently pull. Switch arms.
  • Straighten your right arm. Place the palm of your right hand on a wall and turn to your left to stretch your shoulder and chest. Switch arms.
  • Move your hands in circles to target your wrists. Once you’ve made clockwise and counter-clockwise circles, gently pull your hand backward then push it forward.

  • Place your hands on your lower back and lean backward as far as you can go.
  • Place your right hand on your right hip. Raise your left hand toward the ceiling and lean to the right. Switch hands and do the other side.
  • Place your hands on your hips and keep your legs steady. Slowly move your upper body in a circle, focusing on stretching your abdominal and lower back muscles.
  • Place your arms straight out in front of you then bend them at the elbows. Keep your legs steady and twist side-to-side, moving your arms along with your torso.

Lower Body
  • Stand on your left foot. Bring your right leg forward so that your thigh touches your chest. Pull your leg toward your torso with your hands. Switch legs.
  • Stand on your left foot. Bend your right knee so that your foot touches your butt. Gently pull your foot back to stretch the front of your thigh. Switch legs.
  • Bend over and toes your toes.
  • Get into a lunge position but straighten your back leg. Switch sides.
  • Crouch into a sumo position and twist side-to-side.
  • Sit on the floor. Place your right leg straight out and tuck your left foot toward you. Reach over and grab your right foot. Switch legs.
  • Place your legs out in front of you. Reach out and grab your feet.
  • Perform a butterfly stretch by tucking your feet in toward you and gently pressing your knees down.
  • Move your feet in circles to target your ankles. Once you’ve made clockwise and counter-clockwise circles, gently pull your feet backward then push them forward.

Depending on how long I want to spend stretching, I may include more stretches. After a few weeks of nightly stretching, you’ll notice that not only does it relax you but your body will associate the routine with your looming bedtime and it’ll help you sleep!

Do you have a nighttime ritual that helps you relax?

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