5 Stretches to Start Your Day

James Fowler Physical TherapyStretches & Warm-UpsLeave a Comment

Many New Yorker’s wake up each morning to a buzzing alarm, jump out of bed, shower, brush their teeth, get dressed and run out the door to the office where many sit static for extended periods of time. Your body can benefit from performing stretches when you wake up not only mentally but physically as well. Morning stretches help increase range of motion, improve posture through the strengthening muscles in the core and back. According to the Cleveland Clinic, stretching helps the circulatory system better deliver nutrients to muscle tissue, driving the body to perform better in daily activities and fitness efforts. Fitness expert Joan Pagano at the National Women’s Health Resource Center noted in an interview that improved flexibility reverses the effects of daily wear and tear and aids in general mobility and muscle elasticity.

As the body ages, flexibility becomes key in preventing injury, and a routine stretching plan helps ensure greater ease of movement for years to come.

It’s important to note that there are proper/safe ways of stretching and to always listen to your body. Seek a physical therapist or doctor if you have questions.

The stretches below are stretches we recommend for starting the day off on the right foot and taking strides towards a holistic healthy lifestyle:

Restorative Position

Lying on your back, place your feet on a chair with a pillow under your head. Rest your entire lower leg on the chair. Adjust feet position to achieve the most comfortable position and remain in this position for 5-10 minutes. Try to release any muscular tension in your body and focus on your breathing.

Piriformis Stretch


  • Lie on your back with your knees bent, place one ankle over the opposite knee.
  • Grab behind the leg that is on the ground with your hands and pull it toward you until you feel a gentle stretch in the back of your hip of the crossed leg.
  • Maintain the position and relax.
  • Be sure to keep your tailbone connected to the floor – do not let your hips lift off the floor. Push on your knee to increase the stretch.
  • Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat 3 times on each leg.

Hamstring Stretch with Strap

  • Lay on your back with your legs straight and place a long strap around your forefoot, holding the ends in either hand. Pull on the strap to lift your leg straight up, keeping your knee straight, until you feel a gentle stretch behind the thigh. Keep your tailbone grounded on the table so you’re not letting your hips lift off.
  • If you have any pain in your back, you can bend the opposite knee and keep that foot flat on the ground.
  • Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat 3 times on each leg.

Foam Roll IT band 

  • Place your foam roller on the floor. Take a side plank position with the outside of one hip over the foam roller and your other leg bent in front with the foot on the floor for support.
  • Support yourself on your hands or on your elbows and forearms.
  • Roll the entire outside of your leg from your pelvis to just above your knee in an up and down motion.
  • Draw your belly button to your spine to avoid arching in your low back.
  • If there is a particularly tender spot, you can stop on that spot and focus on your breathing to release the tension.
Squat Stretch


  • Wrap your hands around a pole.
  • Slowly lower your body into a squat position, keeping your back long and front of your hips soft. Let your weight drop down through your heels into the floor.
  • Keep your heels in contact with the ground and avoid any arching in your low back.
  • Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat 3 times.



The information provided in this blog by James Fowler PT is for general informational and educational purposes, and should not be considered medical advice for any individual problem you may have. This information is not a substitute for the professional judgment of a qualified healthcare provider who is familiar with the unique facts about your condition and medical history. You should always consult your health care provider prior to starting any new treatment, or terminating or changing any ongoing treatment. Every post on this blog is the opinion of the author and may not reflect the official position of James Fowler PT. Please contact us if we can be helpful in answering any questions or to arrange for a visit or consult.

Images provided by: Physiotec.org

Image courtesy of Feelart at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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