Guest Author - Terri Johansen
Here is an easy set of exercises to relieve morning stiffness. Arthritis can affect all joints of the body and make movement difficult especially first thing in the morning. Some mornings it can be difficult to get out of bed because of pain and stiffness. Whether you suffer from arthritis, general weakness, recovery from injuries or surgery, you will find relief with these gentle movements and experience the amazing healing power of your body when you treat it well.
First thing in the morning, straight out of bed, turn on the shower and let the room steam up. Then take a warm, not hot, shower. The warmth and steam are good for loosening up the joints and muscles. Be careful; donít let the warm water fool you into doing more than you should. When performing these simple exercises take precautions by having a sturdy bath mat, bar, or even a seat, to prevent injury from slipping in the shower. Stick to the instructions in the following exercises to keep yourself safe:
Each movement of the neck must be done slowly and consciously. With your head held high and straight, slowly drop your chin to your chest. Hold it there for a count of 3 deep breaths.
Bring your head back to the original position and from this starting point drop your right ear towards your right shoulder keeping the left shoulder down. Again, hold for a count of 3 deep breaths. Bring your head back to center and repeat the movement to the left.
With your head at center lift your chin. This should be a small lift. You are stretching the throat, and only a small part of the back of the neck (because of the tiny bones in the neck you must be careful).
Bring your head to center, drop your chin to your chest and slowly slide it to the right, towards your right shoulder. Hold for a count of 3 deep breaths. Slide your head to center, while your chin remains dropped. From the center point repeat the movement towards the left shoulder.
Bring your head to center with your face forward; slowly turn your head to the right looking out over your right shoulder. Hold for a count of 3 deep breaths. Bring your head back to center and turn and hold to the left.
Joint Releases Hands and Wrists
Still enjoying the warm water take each hand and make a small loose fist. Begin to move each fist in a circle. This movement should be initiated at the wrist, not the elbow. Make sure you rotate the fist in both directions four or five times.
The next movement initiates at the wrists. With your left hand stretched out in front of you, your palm towards the floor, use the right hand to gently draw the fingers of the left hand towards the floor and hold for 3 deep breaths then release. These are small movements so donít expect your hands to move very far in any direction.
Turn the left hand palm up. Using your right hand gently draw the fingers of the left towards the floor bending at the wrist. Breathe for 3 full breaths. Repeat on the opposite side. Be gentle.
Bring your hands together as you would when praying. From this position apply pressure press the palms of the hands against each other tightly. Hold for 3 deep breaths.
Put your hands on your shoulders and begin to circle your elbows. Lift your elbows as you circle. Do 4 circles forward and 4 circles reversed.
Simply draw your shoulders up towards your ears and then roll the shoulders back and let them slide them down your back. Repeat 4 times then reverse the motion.
By now your upper body joints should be loosened up. Once you learn the moves you can go through them automatically in about 5 minutes. For now wrap up in a warm robe, sit down, and enjoy your morning coffee. Be healthy, be happy!
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