My Morning Stretch Is the Best Way to Jump-Start My Day

You know how when you're a kid, you wake up in the morning and do the pterodactyl stretch? The one where you starfish on the bed and shriek like a pterodactyl? And you know how you never really outgrow that and continue to do a massive stretch first thing in the morning, usually with obnoxious sound effects? I know it's not just me! And while I still indulge in a morning stretch every day, these days, my stretching routine has become a little more adult and probably a little more useful.

The beauty of that crazy stretch when you were little is that it shook off the last bit of sleepiness from the night and got your muscles going for the day. Even when you're young, your body knows how important a stretch can be. These days, starting the morning with a well-rounded stretch is the only way to energize my body first thing. When I tell you my routine is incredibly simple, I mean it's very, very simple.

When I first wake up, I give myself a moment to just exist in my surroundings. Waking up with a jolt has always upset me, so I've refined my morning routine so my alarm gently wakes me and provides enough time to start the day. I am well-aware that this is not easy for everyone to do (I live alone and my cats sleep like the dead), but it works for me. Once I've let myself fully come awake, I go right in for the starfish stretch. I still think this is the best way to wake up my body. I stretch my hands over my head and my feet to each corner of the bed. I'm prone to cramps in my toes when I stretch too hard, though, so I know just how far to point my toes before they lock. I do one giant breath here before flopping back into a blob on the bed.

From there, I do just a couple smaller stretches with my arms and legs, as well as roll my back around. If I'm sore for any reason, I try to focus on what's hurting and give those muscles some extra warmth and movement. I also like to show my joints some love in the mornings because they're starting to get a little stiffer as I get older. All in all, this takes less than 10 minutes, but it means that when I set my feet on the ground to start the day, I'm more awake and more ready for the day.

It's so simple to do, and it's really just an extension of the single stretch I've always done. It makes me feel good in the mornings, and if a little bit of a pterodactyl sound escapes while I'm stretching, it just means it's going to be an extrabright day.