Stretching in the morning is something I’ve done since I was little. In fact, I can’t remember a time in my life when it wasn’t an important part of my waking up routine. My mother strongly believes in the value of a great morning stretch and always taught me not to skip it. It’s as important as brushing your teeth or eating breakfast.

At the time, I was doing it because my mother said I had to, but I’ve kept it up over the years and have since found out that it makes a big difference to the way I feel. It’s not just my opinion. Studies are starting to show the importance of a good morning stretch. After all, there’s a reason that animals do it when they first get up after a long sleep. It’s built into us to stretch properly in the morning to get going.

Here are some of the reasons that stretching in the morning can help you to enjoy a better day overall:

It reduces and prevents back pain – If you wake up in the morning feeling achy from having been in the same position too long, you might just need a great stretch. I find that on my most stiff and achy days, I really don’t want to stretch, but it’s on those days that it helps me the most. As long as you’re just feeling stiff and achy from having been asleep and not from an injury or illness, give a good morning stretch a try to see if you can relieve that tension in your muscles and spine. It’s shocking how quickly it works and how great it feels.

It improves flexibility – Before my morning stretch, I feel like I have the body of a zombie. I move slowly and stiffly as though I don’t have complete control over my muscles and joints. After my stretch, I feel much more relaxed and at home in my body. I can move around more easily and am less likely to trip or stub my toe.

My posture gets better – When I first wake up and sit up in bed, my posture is terrible. I’m slumped down as though I’m not strong enough to hold myself up. Then comes a great stretch which brings my body back to life again. Because my muscles are relaxed, it makes it easier to keep up the actual shape of my body, which improves my posture. It makes me look and feel better when I can sit up straight and walk tall.

It boosts energy levels – Stretching is a great way to get the blood flowing through the body and into the muscles in the morning. Once that happens, your energy starts to rise, making it possible to feel more alert in the morning even before my energy boosting supplements kick in.