Here is a basic seriese of mobilization exercises you can do each morning to:
- Awaken the nervous system,
- Map activation pathways
- Increase flow of blood, oxygen and nutrients throughout the body
If Motion = Life, then Stagnation = Death. Just look at the water quality of a flowing stream vs that of stagnant pond. The human body is no different. Whether we’re addressing it on the level of bio-energy, biochemistry, molecules or emotions – flow and movement is the natural state that will always lead to better wellbeing.
Sleep is a time of inactivity. While key parasympathetic actions (digestions, detoxification, cellular regeneration) are taking place, motion, circulation, and excretion take a back seat. It doesn’t matter how fit or flexible you are. If your body has been still for 6~8 hours at a time, you will feel stiff. Proprioceptors reset muscle-length-tension relationships in an effort to conserve energy and the only way to keep yourself from just getting tighter, is to move. More.
Movement first thing in the morning has numerous benefits included but not limited to:
- Neurological relaxation
- Improved lymphatic drainage
- Improved function of organs of elimination (liver, kidneys & lymphatic system)
- Re-synchronization of the bodies circadian rhythms (especially important when changing timezones, or making any alterations to your waking/sleeping schedule)
- Increased nutrient absorption throughout the day
- Feeling awake and alert, the natural way
- Injury risk reduction later in the day
- Increased alertness and better reflexes
- Warm up slowly as body temperature increases
- Work from outside in (beginning with extremities furthers from the heart, ankles, wrists, then elbows & knees, before getting to hips, hips, neck, shoulders & core musculature) to bring blood, energy and nutrients toward the heart.
- No music, no TV, no screens of any kind. Remove extra sensory inputs which detract from neurological connection. These “exercises” are as much about training your brain as they are about moving your muscles… what do you think is initiating the movement?
- Stay connected – feel every signal the body is telling you. Despite having a written routine (below) I never approach or execute it the same way twice. Each day is different. Different variables, different temperature, amount of sleep, thoughts, energy levels, hydration, nutrition, assimilation, etc. Routine is a scaffolding only. It is not the structure. You are.
- Improvise the small stuff – Unlike a mechanical structure, a biological one falls subject to all the above and therefor routine can only take you so far. The rest comes down to trusting your senses: listening, feeling, seeing and intuiting. I do not include I set number of reps and sets for the activities below. If you need a number “10” is a round one to shoot for when getting started. If your goal is muscular endurance and injury prevention, 25 is better. If you are rehabbing an existing injury, then you will need more (1 rep for every year of age or more)
Begin with a 1 min warm up a la fast & loose shakes (ankles, wrists, elbows, shoulders, knees & hips)
- Ankles: flexion & extension
- Knees: lower leg circles
- Hips: inside out / outside in
- Torso twists
- Head: neck rolls; eye rolls
- Shoulders: clocks; circles with extended arms palms facing different directions;
- Elbows: windshield wiper circles
- Wrists: rolls; mat work
- T-spine: cat/cow
- Core & Joint stability: push-up planks; bridge transitions; side push planks – in motion
- Leg activation (knee PT): Strait leg raise; lateral raise; glut bridge; slow bike – all laying on back
- Upper body activation (Shoulder PT): bands external rotation; Cuban Rotation; shoulder dislocates; low bridge rotations (agains wall)
Although I sometimes change the order, add in or subtract a particular movement here or there, I now do this seriese every day first thing in the morning (before coffee). Even with old injuries on top of injuries, my joints have never felt so good.
Exercise of any kind is most effective when its tailored to you. Use the references and resources below for inspiration to get creative and build your own personalized morning mobilization routine!
- Academician Amosov’s ‘1000 Moves’ Morning ‘Recharge’ Complex
- Bodyweight athlete’s complete morning mobility routine
- Function Range Conditioning (FRC)
- Pink Panther
- Relax into stretch
- Fast and Loose
- Loaded Progressive Stretching (LPS)
- Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF)
- Active Stretching