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Rise and shine: Morning stretches to do in bed

Last updated on: March 28, 2013 13:49 IST

Rise and shine: Morning stretches to do in bed

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Excerpt from Work it Out Without a Workout, a book by wellness expert Vesna P Jacob.

Vesna Pericevic Jacob, is a Pilates, fitness and wellness expert and is the founder director of Vesna's Wellness Clinic in Delhi.

In her book, Work it Out Without a Workout, she breaks some common exercise myths and shows us how there is no excuse for not being fit, healthy and happy.

Excerpted with kind permission from the book's publishers, Random House India.


Morning Routine

Mornings set the tone of the day. If we start each morning with small sets of stretches and exercises, we'll feel charged and ready to take on any challenge with joy and zest. The minimum you should do is begin each day with stretching exercises when you are still in bed. After doing that you have quite a few options to choose from. Depending on what you want and need on a particular day, you can choose exercises you like.


Photographs: Courtsey: Work it Out Without a Workout
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Waking Up the System

While Still in Bed: This is the first thing you should do after you open your eyes.

Wake up stretch

Inhale and stretch as much as you can, with the arms spread out as far above the head as possib#8804 exhale and slowly lift the head off the mattress.



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One knee to the chest stretch: Pull the knee towards the chest and stretch out the other leg. Hold this position till the count of three. Change sides and repeat the stretch.



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Lower Back Stretch

Pull your knee towards the chest and place the opposite arm on the outer part of your knee.

Now gently push across the body as much as you can. Hold till the count of five. Change sides and repeat.



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Upper Body

Bend your knees while lying on your back.

Open and close arms five to ten times. Inhale while opening and exhale while closing.



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Arm Circles

Five times on each side. Inhale while making the first half of the circle and exhale while performing the second half of the movement.



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Arms Up and Down

This should be done with your arms stretched above your head.

Move your arms up and down, as much as your flexibility allows. Repeat five times on each side; inhale while doing one movement and exhale while changing to the other side.



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Interlock fingers and move your arms up and down. Repeat five times.

Inhale while moving your arms upwards, and exhale while moving them downwards.




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Lower Body: One leg should be bent and the other stretch out.

Leg extensions

Move your leg in and out, with toes pointed away from the body. As you inhale, slowly bend your knee. While exhaling, stretch your leg outwards as much as you can.

Make sure not to arch your back. Ideally the stretched leg should be at the same level as the thigh of the bent leg. Repeat ten times.



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Once you have finished the previous movement, hold your leg at 45 degree angle till the count of ten.

Then flex and point out your toes for another ten repetitions. Inhale while pointing out, and exhale as your flex your toes.



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Ankle Circle

Stretch your leg as much as possible and make circular movements with the ankle. Your knee and hip should remain steady. Breathe normally and repeat five times on each side.



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With knees bent and feet on the ground, move your legs from side to side.

This is a great way to stretch the back and abdominal muscles. Repeat five to ten times on each side.




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Finish off this series by pulling both knees towards the chest and repeat three circles on each side. This will give your lower back a very soothing massage.

This is a very simple and effective routine that will not take more than a few minutes to execute and will also help your jump-start your day. From here on, you have four possible choices depending on the time you have at your disposal.

These choices also depend on what you want to achieve for your body and also how you feel on a particular day.

The choices include standing stretches, for those who want to increase their flexibility and gently awaken the system.

The other two choices, morning blast and Core connection are for those who want to burn calories and invigorate their system.

The fourth option should be done by everyone on a daily basis. Whenever you find extra ten to twenty minutes, you should try the fabulous Tibetan Rites. I also like calling these the 4R's of exercising:

Re-activate

Re-connect

Re-energize

Re-balance

Excerpted with kind permission from Random House India.



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