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American Family Children's Hospital

5 Movements to Do Before Getting Out of Bed

UW Health Fitness Center fitness supervisor Lisa Milbrandt shares tips to help you start the day on your best foot.

I am commonly questioned by my class participants about ways to minimize stiffness and achiness when getting out of bed in the morning. You may have heard the saying ‘motion is lotion’ and that is certainly true of our bodies. Movement is key to lubrication in our joints and elasticity in our muscles.

Here are five movements to try after you have hit your snooze button but before you get out of bed:

1. Move Your Ankles and Feet


Move your foot in circles, point and flex at the ankle, wiggle your toes and try to spread your toes apart. Do this for 30-60 seconds.


While we sleep, the feet generally lie in toe pointed position. When we stand up the soft tissues in the calf and feet are asked to weight bear and be lengthened, which may cause us to hobble the first few steps. 

2. Bend and Straighten Your Knees


Lie down on your back. Slide one heel up toward your hips, bending at the knee until your foot is as close to your buttock as comfortable. Pause and slide the heel back out. Switch legs.


Do each leg twice, then for a little more hip warmup, slide the heel towards the buttock, then let that bent knee slowly drop out to the side as you slide the heel back out. When the leg is straight, roll the leg back to the start position – knee and toes face up. Move each leg 2-3 times


3. Mini-Bridge


This exercise should be done either without a pillow or only with a thin pillow under your head to avoid over flexing the neck.


Lie down on your back. Slide both heels up toward your buttocks, feet flat on bed, knees bent. Arms relaxed by your side. Exhale and press both feet into your mattress until the back of your pelvis floats off the mattress a few inches. Hold for a couple of breathes and slowly lower. Repeat 3-5 times

4. Knee Sways


As with the mini-bridge, start on your back with your knees bent, feet on the bed. Press your knees together gently (you may put a pillow between the knees if more comfortable). Exhale and sway both knees to the right a few inches (allow the left buttock to lift a little as the twist will be in the rib cage area). Inhale knees back up to the start and exhale both knees to left (right buttock lifts). Repeat 3–5 times per side. Inhale back to start position.

5. Full Body Stretch to Knee Hug


Inhale, reaching your arms up as high as is comfortable for your shoulders and heels long to the end of the bed, stretching your body long. Exhale, release. Bring your arms down, draw one knee in toward the chest, then the other knee and give your knees a gentle hug. You may like to rock a little side to side.

As you sit on the side of bed, you may want to pause and take a slightly bigger, slower inhale, allowing the belly to expand. Allow yourself to fully exhale, without forcing the exhale. You are ready to take on your day!


Date Published: 12/14/2015

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