If you have a cat or dog, you may have noticed how they stretch their entire bodies several ways when they wake up before they actually get up? And how seemingly ready they are to spring into action afterwards? Well, you could get the same benefits of wake up stretches as well as tone muscles, burn fat, and stimulate your brain all before you could get out of bed in the morning! Here’s how…
Wake Up Your Brain, Tone Your Muscles, Burn Fat in Your Bed
When you wake up in the morning, do you spring out of bed energized to meet your day? No? Well, you might if you took 10 minutes to do these simple stretches and exercises while you’re still in bed. Exercise in bed? Yes, really. One of the surprising benefits of doing exercises on your bed is that – depending on how hard your mattress is – it’s a semi-unstable surface and your body (and brain) have to adjust to stabilizing your body moving on it. This not only stimulates and challenges your body, but your brain as well, helping you wake up faster and think more clearly.
Another benefit of doing bed exercises is if you’re not feeling so great – have a cold, or you’re just catching up on some rest – you can still do some basic stretches, strengthening and toning moves that will help keep your strength up. Bed exercises are also great to do when you’re traveling and there’s no fitness center in your hotel, or you’re visiting people over holidays and there’s little time for a workout. They’re also great for people with joint issues where standing and doing traditional exercises may cause pain or for those with balance issues.
The following are some simple stretches and exercises that you can do using a bed as your own private one-person gym.
Stretches: Stretching in bed is an easy, enjoyable, way to wake up and warm up all your muscles. Be sure to do slower, deliberate movements to prevent pulls and strains.
Head/Neck Stretch: Laying flat in the middle of the bed, arms at your side. You can use a flatter pillow for this or not. Slowly turn your head to one side, feeling the stretch in your neck and shoulder muscles. Then turn to the other side, for a total of 6 head/neck stretches.
Core/Leg Stretch: Laying flat, widen your legs to a V position, your toes pointing to each corner of the bed, your arms raised, hands behind your head. Then, slowly twist at the waist and try to touch your left elbow to the mattress. Try not to let your legs lift off the mattress as you turn. If you can’t get your elbow all the way down, just go as far as you can. Then switch to the other side, do the same. You should feel the stretch in your core, arms, butt, and legs. Do a total of 6 core/leg stretches.
Core Strengtheners: These moves exercise your core muscles to strengthen them.
Roll-Ups: Bring your legs back together, leaving them slightly apart. Lying flat still, your arms raised over your head, sit up slowly and try to touch your toes. If you can’t reach your toes completely, go as far as you can without straining. Then slowly lower back down to lie flat. You should feel the stretch in your abdominal muscles. Repeat 6 times.
Knee/Elbow Touch: Lying on your back, same position, raise your right knee to meet your right elbow as you sit up and bend forward towards your knees. Alternate sides for 4 moves, 2 each side. Then, switch, and try to touch your left elbow to your right knee, then do the right side for 4 moves, 2 each side.
Leg, Butt and Hip Strengtheners:
Leg Toners/Shapers: Now, lay on your left side, you can raise your head up and support it with your left elbow, or just keep your head flat on your arm. Then, move the leg against the bed into a slight bent knee position. Then lift your opposite leg, pointing your toes upward to feel the stretch throughout the inner thigh and your other hip. Do 6 leg raises, then switch to the right side and do 6.
Lying Leg Lifts: This one tones and shapes your legs, hips, butt, and core. Turn over on your stomach, with your arms crossed under your head, supporting it. Next, raise one leg up behind you as far as you can without straining. You should feel this in your lower butt/upper thigh/hip area. Alternate each leg to do 8 moves, 4 each side.
Side Bed Push-Ups: Stand at the side of the bed, bend forward so that the palms of your hands are face down on the mattress, fingertips facing each other. Next, lower yourself to the mattress; try to touch your chin on the bed. You should feel this stretch all along your arms, especially in the biceps and triceps. Do a set of 10. You can also try to do push-ups on the bed itself, resting on your knees, as you would a regular floor push up.
Finishing Stretches: Its good to also stretch muscles out again after your exercises. Repeat the core/leg stretches from above another 6 times.
Provided you don’t have any back or leg injuries that limit your movements, bed exercises can be done by just about everyone. If you’re recovering from injuries ask your doctor about doing these simple exercises first. In a few short minutes, they can help you get energized to get up and get to your day!