Morning Mobility Routine

Waking Up with Stiffness

Morning stiffness in joints and muscles affects people of all ages and athletic ability. It’s a common symptom I hear from people who are sore from the workout the day before, who are dealing with arthritis, or in general people who wake up tight. Typically I see two main reasons why we stiffen up when sleeping: joints and muscles.


Joint pain is a typical problem for people dealing with morning stiffness. During the night  when joints aren’t moving, inflammation can cause your joints to collect fluid leading to swelling, pain and stiffness. Our joints are lubricated by a synovial fluid, which acts as an oil to provide smooth joint movement. Once people start moving this fluid begins to improve the circulation of oxygen and nutrients to the joints, providing a smoother glide.


Muscle tightness in another common symptoms I hear. Typically this can be attributed to overuse, stress, poor sleep or chronic conditions. Muscles will tighten up or become stiff with restricted movements and have a difficult time returning to a lengthened position after being contracted during sleep. With soreness from overuse, like a long match the day before, muscles will have small ruptures, which can cause pain or stiffness for 24-72 hours as they heal. For both soreness and stiffness, it is necessary to improve blood circulation, which provides the oxygen and nutrients necessary to recover and restore healthy tissues. 

Movement Is the Best Medicine

It is important to start your day with movement. Exercise has the ability to improve your joint and muscle pain through the circulation of oxygen and nutrients, as well as the ability to remove harmful build of toxins. For joints, studies show how exercise can not only improve joint health but also decrease pain in chronic conditions such as arthritis. Starting the day with movement kickstarts your body’s natural need for exercises and promotes healthy habits. 

Try these five moves that can be performed in bed to start your day the healthy way:

  1. Bridges: Lay flat on you back with you knees up and feet shoulder width apart. Push through you heels and tighten your glutes to lift your pelvis off the ground. Perform 10 times. 

  2. Knee extension: Lay flat on your back and wrap your hands behind one knee. Extend your leg until a stretch is felt in your hamstring. Hold 5 seconds for 5 times on each side. 

  3. Glute stretch: Lay flat on your back and pull your knee to your opposite shoulder until your feel a stretch in your glute. Hold for 30 seconds on each side. 

  4. Book open: Lay on your side with knees and hips bent to 90 degrees. Take your top arm and slowly rotate over your body to the opposite side. Keep your eyes on your hand. Perform 5 times for 5 seconds on each side

  5. Press-ups: Lay flat on your stomach and push through your arm to raise your shoulders into the arm. Make sure to keep your hips on the table. Perform 5 times for 5 seconds. 

Christine Nip