exercises for back stiffness. picture of a gazelle

Granny or Gazelle? Best exercises for morning back stiffness.

Granny or Gazelle? Great pilates exercises to prevent morning back stiffness.

Do you wake with back stiffness, feeling rather like an old lady? Have to start the day with contorting stretches just to feel normal? Do you find that you struggle to get comfortable in bed at night?

Your natural instinct is probably to try morning stretches. To loosen you up and get you going.  If this is working for you do carry on. But if it seems rather laborious and more like patching the problem each day rather than solving it you might try a different stategy.

For the week ahead rather try some Pilates before you go to bed.

Why do exercises before going to bed?

Many clinic patients with niggly back issues have found stretches before bed a surprisingly successful strategy.

My theory? By the end of a normal day (of lifting, carrying, sitting, driving….), the majority of people have lost their pelvic alignment and their back muscles have stiffened up in an effort to hold us upright.  

If you go to bed with a rigid lower back and asymmetrical pelvis then you are going to find a soft mattress uncomfortable.

Furthermore,  though you will eventually fall asleep it will be on a poorly arranged spine.  It won’t hurt when you are sleeping but it will complain as you start to move again next day.    

Mini-experiment to see how quickly we experience “stiffness”:   Simply lean on your hand on the table or chair beside you . Flat on your palm with your wrist at 90 degrees.  It won’t hurt while you lean on it.  If you were distracted chatting to someone you could lean like this for a couple of minutes and not even think about it.  BUT when you release the pressure off your hand it will ache across the wrist joint. It will feel uncomfortable for a good minute or two before it wears off.  All the stretched ligaments and tendons complain. They can do it but they don’t LIKE it.  A long night’s sleep on a stiff or crooked spinal column is a magnified version of this.

Video: three back release exercises

Slept badly last night? Woke up this morning stiff as a granny? Had a chair-shaped kinda day? Wish you could make your back “click”?!  Or just need to lose some physical tension at the end of the day??  

This video is just 6 minutes.  Calm, focused, back release by flowing through Spine Curls, Hip Twists and Double Arm Stretches.  Happy Back. Deep Restful Sleep. Happy You!


Try 6 Pilates spine curls, on the floor (the mattress will be too soft), before you go to bed this week and let me know how you get on?  

And if you have any other tips for waking with the suppleness of a young gazelle please do share below!

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