Stretches to Do Before You Start Your Workday
April 28 2020
6 Stretches for Caregivers that will Loosen Your Muscles and Energize Your Body
Because of the physical demands of your job as a caregiver, it is important to start your day off right. Just as we would before any good workout, we should do a warmup session. Think of your body as an investment. If you don’t keep yourself in tip-top shape, you won’t be able to care for your patients. Here are our six favorite stretches to start your day off feeling ready for anything.
Note: It’s always a good idea to check with your doctor first before beginning any exercise or stretching regimen. If any stretch or exercise causes you pain, stop and call your doctor.
1Start with this restorative pose that gently stretches your pelvis, hips, thighs and spine. All these areas can be a bit tight in the morning, making it key that you loosen up these key areas before heading into work. This pose is also great if you have slept funny and have a kink you need to lessen. As a bonus, it also calms the mind, relieving stress and fatigue.
- Begin on all fours on a yoga mat, carpet or stable rug so you do not slip and it cushions your knees. Your knees should be directly under your hips with your big toes touching. (You can widen your toes if touching puts pressure on your knees.)
- Inhale and then as you exhale, push your buttocks back to your heels and tuck your chin to your chest, stretching your arms across the floor in front of you.
- Rest here, with your forehead to the ground and arms outstretched.
- Hold for 5 deep and even breaths.
2Jump start your day with these two poses that when done together, help increase circulation of your spinal fluid. This will lubricate the spine and gently stretch your back and torso, helping you wake up and be ready for the rest of your day.
- Push up from Child’s Pose back onto all fours with your shoulders directly over your wrists and your hips directly over your knees.
- As you inhale, drop your belly and let your back arch while keeping your shoulders rolled back and down. Look slightly up toward the ceiling. (This is Cow Pose).
- As you exhale, press your hands into the ground and round your upper back toward the ceiling. (This is Cat Pose.)
- As you inhale and exhale, move between these poses, repeating for 5 breaths.
Downward Facing Dog
3This mild inversion pose can be therapeutic for sciatica, relieve fatigue and helps ease back pain. It also resets your nervous system, calms the mind and energizes the body.
- Start on all fours. To make this pose more comfortable, you may want to widen your hands and feet.
- Curl your toes under and as you exhale and lift your knees from the floor, pushing into your hands and straightening your arms, looking back toward your feet. At first, keep your knees slightly bent and your heels lifted from the floor.
- With an exhale, push your tailbone toward the sky and allow your heels to drop, stretching your calf muscles. Your knees should be straightened by not locked. Your spine should also be in a neutral position and not working too hard nor should your belly drop too far toward the floor.
- Breath deeply as you hold this pose for 1 to 3 minutes. With an exhalation, we will move into the next pose.
4This standing “power pose” increases flexibility in your hips, helps to focus the mind and energizes the body.
- From Downward Dog, exhale and lift your right foot and bend your knee toward your nose.
- Plant your right foot in between your hands (or to make the pose gentler, plant your right foot behind your right hand).
- On a deep inhale, rise to a standing position, keeping your left leg stretched back and your toes pointing forward. Then drop your heel to the floor so your left leg is at a 45 degree angle.
- If your right foot didn’t go as far forward as you’d like for this pose, inch it forward now. You should feel stable in this pose.
- Allow your hips to sink a bit more to deepen the stretch, your right thigh should become parallel to the floor.
- As you inhale, with palms facing one another, lift your arms in front of you and then over your head in a sweeping motion. Hold your arms here for three deep breaths.
- As you exhale, step your right foot back and stand straight.
Standing Quad Stretch
5This warm up will stretch your quadriceps in the front of your thighs to keep you limber and ready for lifting and transferring patients.
- Stand straight, holding onto the back of a chair for stability if needed.
- Band your right knee and grab your ankle with your right hand.
- Hold this position for 15 seconds then release.
- Repeat this 3 more times.
- Do the same with your left leg.
Seated Lumbar Flexion
6Stretch out your lower back with this easy seated pose. (If you have a bulging or herniated disc in your spine, be careful with this stretch. If it causes you any pain, stop the stretch and check with your doctor.)
- Start by sitting on the edge of a sturdy but comfortable chair. Your feet should be flat on the floor.
- Bend over, allowing your hands to reach your feet.
- Arch your back and hold for 10 counts.
- Allow yourself to rise into a seated position again then repeat this 5 more times.