Wake up the muscles in your shoulders, hips, and core before your feet even hit the floor.
The best time to exercise is whenever you can—morning, noon, or night. But starting your day with movement has a few key advantages.
For example, a study in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise found exercising in the morning may help you consume fewer unnecessary calories throughout the day. Plus, the same study found people who worked out for 45 minutes in the morning end up being more physically active all day long.
“It’s just a good way to start your day, mentally and physically,” says Douglas Ebner, D.P.T., a physical therapist at Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. “No matter what happens with your day, you know that you’ve already accomplished something positive.”
If that’s not enough to get you out of bed and into your sneakers, you’re in luck: You can do some simple, effective exercises before your feet even hit the floor in the morning.
The following six moves from Ebner help wake up the muscles in your hips, abdominals, upper back, and shoulders—and can all be done in your bed.
How the Morning Bed Workout Works
As soon as you wake up, do one set of each exercise below in order. Go at your own pace, and focus on really feeling your muscles engage during each movement. After one full round, you’ll feel less stiffness, more energy, and ready to tackle your day!
Prefer to get on the floor? All you need is a mat. You can perform these moves with or without shoes on, whichever is safest and most comfortable for you.
As always, safety is key. The exercises her may be different or more advanced than those you’ll experience in a SilverSneakers class. If you have a chronic condition, balance issues, or injuries, talk to your doctor about how you can exercise safely.
Exercise #1: Rollover
Do 2 to 3 reps
Lie on your back toward the middle of your bed—you’ll want enough room to roll over without any risk of falling off. Extend your arms straight overhead and stretch your legs out long.
From here, lift your legs a few inches if it’s comfortable. Roll onto your right side, allowing your toes to come back to the bed as you do. Reverse the movement to roll onto your back again, trying to keep your legs lifted as you do.
Repeat on the left side to complete one rep. Do two to three reps total. If lifting your legs is too challenging, simply keep them on the bed as you roll from side to side.
One caveat: Skip this move if you suffer from vertigo or are prone to dizziness.
Exercise #2: Glute Bridge
Do 12 to 15 reps
Lie on your back with knees bent, feet flat on the bed about hip-width apart, and heels a few inches away from your butt. Press your arms into the bed for support, and brace your core to minimize the arch in your lower back.
From here, push through your heels and squeeze your glutes to lift your hips up until your body forms a straight line from your knees to shoulders. As you get stronger, focus on getting your shins as close to vertical as you comfortably can at the top of the movement.
Pause, then slowly lower your hips to return to starting position. That’s one rep. Perform 12 to 15 reps total.
Exercise #3: Clamshell
Do 12 to 15 reps per side
Lie on one side with your knees bent and legs stacked one on top of the other. Keeping your feet together, slowly raise your top knee as high as you can without rocking or rolling backward. Your legs should resemble an opened clamshell.
Pause, squeezing your side glute at the top of the movement, then slowly lower back down to starting position. That’s one rep. Do 12 to 15 reps, then switch sides and repeat.
Exercise #4: Reverse Clamshell
Do 12 to 15 reps per side
Follow the same setup as the clamshell: Lie on one side with your knees bent and legs stacked one on top of the other. But this time, keep your knees glued together, and lift your top foot as high as you comfortably can.
Pause, feeling the small muscles in the front of your hips engage, then slowly lower back down to starting position. That’s one rep. Do 12 to 15 reps, then switch sides and repeat.
Exercise #5: Book Opener
Do 5 to 10 reps per side
Follow the same setup as the clamshell: Lie on one side with your knees bent and legs stacked one on top of the other. Extend both arms in front of your chest, and stack your palms together.
Keeping your arms straight, knees together, and gaze forward, lift your top arm up and toward the other side of your body. Reach as far as comfortable, expanding your chest.
Return your arm to starting position. That’s one rep. Do five to 10 reps on one side, then repeat on the other.
Note: If you don’t want to keep rolling from one side to the other to do the clamshell, reverse clamshell, and book opener, you can do all three exercises on the same side then switch to do all three exercises on the other.
Exercise #6: Seated Shoulder Squeeze
Do 12 to 15 reps
Sit at the edge of your bed with feet flat on the floor. If you’re performing these moves on a mat, you can sit on the mat or in a chair.
Pulling your elbows back and down, squeeze your shoulder blades together. Imagine you’re squeezing a lemon between your shoulder blades. Pause, then release. That’s one rep. Do 12 to 15 reps total.
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