How I Exercise in Bed Basics of Stretching
These Bed Basics of Stretching are key to my new-found health. I frequently mention that I exercise in bed all the time. Easy exercise like this started me down the path to losing 130 pounds. It still helps me stay fit today at 150 pounds since October 2011 (140 in Oct 2013!) (138 in March 2014!) Stretching in bed has helped me recover from several recent illnesses and has made a huge reduction in recovery time compared to previous illnesses.
I’m sure the weight loss didn’t hurt either. Being “Half My Size” has been a true miracle in my life and I know it will be for you too!
I do this kind of stretching at least twice a day – before and after sleep. It might change your life as it has mine, so let’s get started!
Here Bed Basics of Stretching and how I exercise in bed:
Use Your Bed as a Prop for Exercise
Upon arising, before sleep, after work, any time. In the morning it is invigorating; in the evening it is relaxing; when you are sore or tight it is relieving. This is better than any drug I have ever taken for pain relief. I know you can’t believe that, but it is true.
Your bed is off the ground. You can get to a prone position without getting all the way down to the ground. The surface is cushioned and easy on your sore, obese, sick body. You have a nice clean surface to work with (right? OK – you should make your bed first :). You can loosen your kinks without pain.
Your bedroom and any other bedrooms or couches you have available to you at home or at work.
Everyone can do this and that’s why I do it. I could exercise in bed even when I was obese, frail and weak or recovering from illness. I couldn’t do too much else when I started losing weight. I can exercise in bed by light movement even when I can’t do anything else.
Before you start – make your bed, Or – you can dump all the covers off into the corner. You might keep some pillows of various sizes to prop yourself up and be more comfortable. Clear the floor area around your bed so you don’t trip over anything. Clean your night tables of anything you might bonk yourself with if you hit it with your arm. The effort to un-make and make your bed counts as exercise too. Be sure to breathe and use good body mechanics as you work.
I try any of these following ideas when I decide to exercise in bed.
Remember you are reading the experience of a 50 year old accountant who lost 130 pounds doing this kind of stuff. No health professional has endorsed my ideas but I like them. This is not advice for you.
Though these movements are all stretching – for an obese person who doesn’t move much, these moves are also strength training. Your fist weighs a pound or two, and your foot weighs more than that. Lifting either one is an effort when you are obese, sick, sore or tired.
Focus on what matters to you. If your hips hurt – go easy. If you have sore hands from office work, stretching them will hurt more in the beginning and you really have to go easy. I have hurt my hands by over-stretching. Here is a gentle exercise for hands that I do now. I did this video at the pool before swimming, but I do it in the morning and after a lot of typing as well. Just the rubbing from the first seconds of this video works. You can rub any joint for one minute and it will feel better. The blood flow gets going and you loosen up a bit.
These are only SOME of the stretches I do in a day. Try a few of these moves every so often as you improve and it will change your life. Your exercises will change over time too. Don’t stress! Look at this as “Me” time. Find out what feels good and what is more challenging. Decide how to help yourself over time. This is not a one shot deal. It’s what you do for 5-10 minutes every time you get into and out of bed.
Stretching Lying centered on your bed
I do some form of this exercise twice a day at least. It’s hard for me because of my heart issues or pain issues sometimes. But I know I will feel better once I do them. I lie on my back as centered as I can be in a full sized bed.
- Remove pillows and get flat. Remove pony tails or hair clips.
- Get some breathing going.
- Roll your body from side to side to get centered. Flop out your legs and arms. Relax. Breathe.
- Turn your head left to one side. Pull back a bit from the “furthest you can go” and and rest into it for a breath or two. After a few moments turn your head to the other side. Move your neck and head but don’t strain or overdo. This seems like nothing but if you haven’t done it before you can [will] be sore for a couple of days afterwards! You may need to use your hands and arms to help move your head. I use my hands to help me with this move often, especially when my arthritis is flaring. When I have to help myself turn my head, it turns into a shoulder, arm and finger workout.
- Loosen your shoulders and arms; by reaching with your hands in any direction. Stretch from your fingers, hands, wrists, forearms, elbows, biceps, triceps, shoulders. Relax. Repeat.
- Loosen your feet; Point and flex, circle your feet around your ankles and wiggle your toes. Rub your feet together.
- Loosen your hips and legs; reach with your legs in any direction. Stretch your toes, feet, ankles, knees, quads, hamstrings, glutes. Relax. Repeat.
- Loosen your hands; Grasp and stretch your fingers out, circle your wrists and wiggle your fingers. Rub your hands together.
Try some twisting moves by reaching over to the side just a bit with the opposite leg and/or arm.
You can also turn on your stomach for some stretching in another direction, but this is more difficult while obese. You may need to use pillows to be comfortable – especially if you are an “apple” shape like me. a pillow under your shoulders and another under your hips will work wonders on making this exercise more comfortable.
Note: If you are just starting to stretch in bed, you can stop right here for a few times. This loosening up takes about 5 minutes and is a good introduction to what’s coming up. Now you can go to sleep with that little five minute break. Nice!
Stretching Lying on your side centered on your bed
From the fetal position, manipulate the upper arm and leg. Just rolling over to get into a comfortable fetal position is challenging for many of us. Be sure to do the same action on both sides. One position is like a clamshell with your knees – on your side and opening and closing your knees while your feet stay together. Sometimes that move is intensely difficult for me and my sore hips and at other times it is not too hard at all.
Move just the top limb. Use the bottom side for balance and rest. Wiggle your toes and ankles knee and hip – move your fingers, arm, elbows, shoulder – turn over and do the other side.
Stretching sitting on the edge of your bed
I don’t really like to use this position often. I will use a sturdy chair instead. I do use the bed to bounce up and down in a semi-squat activity. That is more of a strength move, and helps with my hip pain quite a bit. I do not like regular squats as they hurt my hips even now that I am thin, but these assisted squats are ok for me.
Stretching standing by the edge of the bed
This can work very well to give stability. Just putting your hands down and leaning over will loosen up your lower back. If you can lie down on the bed from there and arch up – you have a semi-cobra, sort of. (Better than nothing).
Also from this position, you can do a modified Cat/Cow yoga move. Your hands are on the bed and you arch and drop your abdomen. Very little movement will make a difference. Don’t strain with this one.
Stretching hanging partially off of your bed
This I love. Just hanging one lower leg or one lower arm off the bed creates strain that pulls and stretches my muscles very nicely. It feels wonderful and relaxing. Move your body slightly away from your limb and you have traction – sort of. Don’t overdo!
Stretching feet on the Wall
I do this move so often that I started shooting videos of myself doing it. I figured I could multi-task and so far it is working! Here is a video of this trick. There are many more on my You Tube Channel for your viewing pleasure. Search my channel for “feet” or “stretch”
You can lie far from the wall or close to the wall as you are able.
How I Exercise in Bed and the Basics of Stretching
That’s pretty much the basic idea. Generally try to move each joint in your body in as many directions as you can. Stretch and strengthen as you can. I’m not defining exactly how because it is limited to what you can do without pain or stress. Don’t go too far, too long or too hard. Nothing should hurt during or after you stretch.
5-15 minutes of this stretching before or after sleep or anytime during the day is a great pick me up. Try it and see if you are not converted to a stretching fanatic just like me. I stretch in bed almost every, if not more than once a day. I know it has helped me keep off the 130 pounds I never want to see again. I know it makes me sleep better and be more agile and centered. Maybe it will work for you too.
So that is How I Exercise in Bed and the Basics of Stretching for me I would love to hear how it works for you.
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