The Stretch . . . then Coffee!

The morning stretch

What is the first thing that the majority of people do upon waking up . . . . go for that cup-o-joe. Not bad unless one is a non-coffee drinker. Yet, that morning jolt is chemically initiated. It must be repeated so as to be sustained. It does nothing for a body that has been in stasis for 5,6,7, 8 or (for those who are lucky) more hours.  The morning stretch is a wondrous maneuver. It stimulates lymph flow. It gently wakes up the muscular system. It, stretching, releases mood-enhancing endorphins Look no further than your favorite canine or feline. They stretch, first thing, after waking up. Perhaps it is a gentle nudge toward a healthy habit.

Coffee cup . . . .
Coffee cup . . . . with coffee!!

I am not bashing coffee drinkers as I am an ‘AVID’ coffee drinker. I feel that coffee has benefits and should be enjoyed by all. Coffee contains antioxidants and other active substances that may reduce internal inflammation and protect against disease,” says Diane Vizthum, M.S., R.D., Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.  Some the benefits of coffee consumption are as follows: Increased lifespan, improved glucose processing,  protection against heart failure, liver support, DNA strengthening. Yet there are adverse effects that coffee can elicit. These include: Insomnia, anxiety, digestive issues, muscle breakdown, addiction, high blood pressure, rapid heartrate, fatigue, frequent urination.

The morning caffeine jolt is basically chemical ingestion. It is not long lasting unless one is caffeine sensitive. More coffee can be consumed by the individual as they become acclimatized to consumption. The more coffee is used to wake up, it can become a habit. This habit is stimulatory to the nervous system. One will feel energized mainly due to a psychological boost. Coffee turns off the ‘I’m tired receptors’ and provides a feeling of alertness. Physiologically, the actual caffeine jolt takes up to 2 – 3 hours to take effect unless, again, one is caffeine sensitive.

To beneficially rev the body up requires movement. For some people, a morning run, swim or exercise session works well. There are those who are not so inclined towards a morning session of calorie burning or muscle building. Just the act of ‘rolling out of bed is a monumental accomplishment. One need look no further than the animal kingdom for a means to get the body stimulated. Your favorite pooch or kitten will stretch themselves upon waking. The benefits of stretching in the morning — for as little as five minutes — outweigh any inconvenience you think it might pose while you are rushing to get ready for work or eat some semblance of a breakfast.   

The morning stretch does not have to be elaborate. It can be as simple or as involved as is convenient. There are simple routines that one can easily obtained from the internet. There are yoga routines that one can do that do not require much flexibility. Qigong routines are very accessible to the average person and can be done anywhere. There is always the option of doing what one feels is best for them. The body knows what is best for itself. The body will know when it feels good. Movement will not lie. The key is become in tuned to patterns of  movements that will stimulate, energize and gently invigorate the body and mind for the daily routine.

This write up is about the morning wake up routine. How one typically goes into the ritual of working through the creaks and groans of arise to brush teeth, comb / brush hair, shower, grab something to eat (maybe) and have coffee. That is the usual series of events for many people. Yet, the movement of the body, the energetic stimulation of the body is very key. Working with the body’s natural rhythms is beneficial. Awaking through stretching is a kind of bodily “reboot,” if you will, as well as a way for you to transition back into the land of the living after being in dreamland for several hours. This will enable one to more fully appreciate that morning cup of coffee.

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