When most of us roll out of bed in the morning, our first instinct is to take a big stretch. Maybe your neck is stiff, or your shoulders are tight, or you just need to yawn dramatically. While you might feel like a creaky, inflexible wreck, there's a scientific reason why your body gets like this in the morning.
Your body temperature fluctuates throughout the day and night, in time with your circadian rhythm. When your body temperature is higher, you might feel more mobile because your muscles are able to function better. In the late afternoon, most people's body temperature is at its peak, but in the morning, it's the lowest. For example, that's why an AM yoga class can feel more difficult than a class in the evening.
Luckily, stretching can help wake up your body, increase your range of motion, and prevent injuries down the line. Ahead are some easy stretches to do first thing in the morning from Bethany Lyons, co-founder of Lyons Den Power Yoga, and Charlee Atkins, CSCS, founder of Le Stretch, and Master SoulCycle Instructor. They're short but effective, and can easily fit into your usual morning routine. Over time, you may find that your mornings — and the rest of your day — feel a little less rigid.