A morning stretch will help you flex and balance
YOUR MORNING ROUTINE may be missing an essential item. No, not more coffee – a set of simple stretches. Some days you may wake up full of beans and ready to perform a few stretches, but you should do them even when you wake up sluggish and irritable, and want to crawl back under the duvet. These four morning stretches (right) will help to work out the kinks from yesterday’s workout. They can also help increase circulation, boost your mood and increase your flexibility. After this, the day is yours.
How to do it Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, hands on hips. Gently roll your neck to the right and back until your gaze is up, then to the left and down, until your gaze is to the floor. Repeat on the opposite side.
Why it works It eases tension and improves your neck’s range of motion, which aids posture.
Standing overhead reach
How to do it Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and arms hanging loose. Raise your arms, clasp your hands and squeeze your glutes, while arching your back and lifting your gaze up and back. Return to start.
Why it works Helps eliminate shoulder tension, neck soreness, and stiff arms while running.
How to do it Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, arms at your sides. Fold forward, letting your head fall and bending your arms to grab the opposite elbow. Pause, then return to stand.
Why it works Lengthens your arms, loosens your hamstrings and stretches your upper back while working spinal mobility.
How to do it Stand with feet slightly wider than hip-width apart, toes pointed slightly out, hands at your chest. Send your hips back, then bend your knees to lower as far as possible; keep your chest up. Press through your heels to return to start.
Why it works A full squat boosts ankle mobility.
RETURNING TO RUNNING
Been out injured? Follow this table:
TEN Percentage increase in your muscles’ range of motion following just two minutes of foam rolling.1
WORDS: RICK PEARSON. PHOTOGRAPHS: GETTY (MAIN), JULIA HEMBREE SMITH (EXERCISES) 1. JOURNAL OF STRENGTH AND CONDITIONING RESEARCH ■