The best stretches to invigorate and energize the body

A lot of us need a little extra boost throughout the day. When you hit that mid-day slump, it’s common to reach for a coffee or energy drink to push you through to the evening. Moving and stretching the body though is a powerful way to energize the body and mind when you are feeling sluggish. A combination of dynamic or moving stretches and heat-building stagnant stretches can help invigorate the body. Here are some of the best stretches for cultivating sustained energy when you are feeling tired. 

 

Jumping Jacks 

Stand with your legs together and your arms down by your sides. Jump into the air as you spread your legs and extend the arms overhead. Jump again to bring your legs back together and arms back down by your sides. Keep a slight bend in the knees as you move and continue for about a minute. 

 

High knees 

Begin to jog in place. Extend your arms out long in front of you. As you jog in place, begin to lift one knee up to the height of your arm, rapidly switching legs. Keep your core engaged and continue for 30 seconds to a minute. 

 

Cat Cow 

Come into a tabletop position, placing your hands underneath your shoulders and knees underneath your hips. On an inhale arch the spine, tilting the pelvis back and gaze up at the ceiling. On an exhale press the mat away and create a c curve with the spine, gazing at your navel. Continue to move like this at your own pace, breathing deeply for 10-20 rounds. 

 

Lunge 

Place your right foot in between your hands and extend your left leg behind you, tucking the toes under and engaging your quads. Keep the front leg bent at a 90 degree angle, stretching into the hip. Keep your hands planted on the ground surrounding either side of your front foot, or place them on the right knee. Hold for around 30 seconds and then switch sides. 

 

Extended reach 

Come to stand with your feet hips width apart. On an inhale, reach your arms up toward the sky, stretching the side body and abdomen. Keep your core engaged and lift your hip points slightly toward your ribs, keeping the integrity of the spine. You can grab opposite wrists and reach to one side and then the other for a side stretch. You can also gently reach back, inviting a slight backbend into the posture. Hold here for a few breaths, exploring the variations of this posture in a way that feels good to your body. 

 

Hip Circles 

Stand with your feet hips width apart. Place your hands on your hips and begin to circle your hips clockwise. Keep a small bend in the knees as you move in circular motions. Continue in this direction for around 30 seconds before switching directions and repeating the same cycle. 

 

Leg swings 

Stand steady with your legs hip width apart. You can hold onto something to keep balanced if needed. Begin to swing your right leg forward and back in one long swift motion for ten swings before switching sides.

 

Gabrielle Marchese is a certified yoga instructor. 

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