Family LIfe

Exercises to Get You and Your Kids Awake in the Morning
by Tracey Mallett
www.TraceyMallett.com

The first thing you should do in the morning before getting out of bed is to stretch. I love to do the following cross over back stretch which helps release tension in the lower spine accumulated through the weird positions we put ourselves in through our sleep. Also, if your family is anything like mine, we always end up having two kids in our bed and me sandwiched between them.

Perform the stretch every day and hold for 30 seconds. This will ease any awkward kinks that sleep can bring and place the spine in better alignment.

Reach and Lying Cross Over Stretch in Bed
Lie on your back and first reach your hands and feet in opposite directions. Hands reach to the top of the bed and the feet down toward the bottom of the bed. You will feel the spine elongate (a gentle traction of the spine). Hold a few seconds and take deep breaths.

Next, place your arms to the side of the body at shoulder height, palms facing downward. Bend the right knee toward your chest and gently hold on to the right knee with the left hand. Draw the right knee across the midline (left side) of the body and twist the torso to a point which feels comfortable. At the same time, turn your head to the opposite direction of the bent leg looking toward the right hand. Hold this lower spine stretch and gently breathe for about 30 seconds. Repeat on the other side.

Out of Bed
To get my kids going in the morning I sometimes play fun music to give them a little energy boost. Kids love to move their bodies, even first thing in the morning. It's an instant pick-me-up!

Quick Stretches for Mom and Kids
The following stretches stimulate the nervous system and open the many channels of the body - especially the main channel, the spine - so that energy can flow freely and reduce stress. Also, by taking deep breaths throughout, the stretches will increase oxygen uptake, gently awaking the body.

1. The Mermaid
Little girls love this! For the boys I call it The Merman.

Muscles Stretched: Obliques (waist), lower spine and hips.

Sitting tall with both knees bent to right side of body, resting on both sit bones. The right hand is resting on right ankle and the left hand is extended straight up to the sky level with your left shoulder.

Inhale and reach up and over to the right side (legs) and turn your focus toward the sky, opening the heart center (chest upwards). Hold this stretch for 30 seconds and repeat other side.

Keep equal weight on each butt cheek.

2. Butterfly Stretch
Muscles stretched: inner thighs and hips.

Sit tall with your legs turned out at the hips, soles of the feet together and the knees pointing out to the sides of the room. Place hands on your shins with the elbows resting on the knees, gently placing pressure as you actively press the legs down to the floor. Also, hinge forward from the lower back extending the spine.

Lead forward with the breast bone and keep equal pressure on each sit bone.

3. Downward Dog (we call it the Elephant)
Muscles Stretched: Hamstrings, calves, lower and upper spine.

Hold up to 1 minute

Get on all fours placing your hands shoulder-width apart and knees under hips and toes curled pressing your heels in the floor.

Exhale, contract your abs and draw you shoulder blades down the back, extend and lengthen the spine and legs, reaching your hips toward the sky. Press your heels down to the floor and work toward reaching your chest towards your knees.

Pull your shoulders away from your ears by contracting the side of your back, slightly turn out you hands opening the chest

Now you're all set for an energetic day with the kids!

Tracey MallettAbout the Author:
Tracey Mallett (www.TraceyMallett.com) is an internationally-recognized certified personal trainer and sports nutritionist. She is the author of Sexy in 6: Sculpt Your Body with the 6 Minute Quick Blast Workout. Tracey is the creator and star of the 3-In-1 Pregnancy System, for pre- and post-natal mothers. Her newest videos are "Renew You" and "Super Body BootCamp." A proud mother of two, Tracey, now lives in Los Angeles.

* Read more of Tracey's articles on StorkNet! *

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