You stretch before your dance class, to prepare your body, but do you stretch when you wake up to prepare for your day? Mornings can be difficult, but getting moving with the right stretches is a great way to jump start your day and your body. Here’s what stretching does for you:

Increases Blood Flow

Ever wonder why stretching after a period of being still feels so good? It’s because when your muscles aren’t moving, waste products begin to build up in the blood, which decreases the circulation. Stretching gets the blood pumping, making it richer and distributing the waste buildup. It’s good for your body, and your mind since blood flow increases concentration and sharpens your senses.

Gives An Energy Boost

Sometime the sleepiness you feel in the morning seems to drag on throughout the day, making you feel lethargic, but according to the American Council on Exercise, starting your morning out with a good series of stretches can boost your energy throughout the day, preventing that tired feeling from creeping in.

Reduces Aches and Pains

As dancers, aches and pains come with the territory, but studies suggest that stretching can help to reduce joint and muscle pain. Although aches can occur throughout the day, they tend to be stronger in the morning because fluids build up in the joints and spine while your body has been lying still. A gentle stretch to warm up the body will help to ease that morning stiffness and improve all-day mobility.

Improves Posture

Dancers, we’re looking at you. Posture is everything as a dancer, but outside the classroom, you might find that your posture suffers, mainly due to body fatigue, overstretched back muscles or tight chest muscles. Stretching these muscles in the morning will help loosen them, providing more flexibility and improving your posture inside and outside the class room.

Improves Mood

Starting out your day by doing something good for your body builds confidence and releases endorphins. It also allows you a time to reflect and set yourself up for a successful day. During your stretch time, try to avoid worrying about all of the tasks of the day and focus on the little blessings in life. Be good to your body and it will work hard for you.

There’s no downside to stretching, just be sure that you avoid assisted stretching unless it’s with a licensed professional. So go ahead, get your morning stretch on this week and set your body up for success!

-American Council on Exercise; ACE’s Personal Trainer Manual