You woke up after a good night’s sleep. As you gradually regain consciousness, you begin to feel stiff and tensed muscles around your body. Your reaction is to yawn and stretch out both your arms and legs and the feeling you have after that is amazing.
Did you know that each time you stretch and yawn, the action is called ‘pandiculating’?
It is our body’s natural way to prepare for movement after a long period of being inactive. When we are fast asleep or resting, the muscles in our body have stiffened up due to the lack of movement, and hence it is our body's reflex to stretch and release any built-up tensions in our joints and muscles.
Did you know that when we yawn, even our lungs are stretched to be woken up!
Yawning helps us inhale more oxygen, increasing blood flow throughout our body to make us alert again. Although pandiculation is involuntary, our busy lifestyle has caused many of us to jump right into our daily routine and missed out on these healthy and precious morning stretches. Some of us may have forgotten about this wonderful wake-up routine altogether.
It is not just us humans; even animals practice stretching and yawning when they wake up from their sleep. Pandiculation happens for most vertebrate animals such as mammals and birds. Anyone with pets at home will notice that their cats or dogs pandiculate each time they wake up, even after a short nap. What your pets are doing is stretching their back and neck as it relaxes and prepares their muscles to get active again.
So if your lovely pets can enjoy pandiculating, there is no harm for you too to practice and take in all the benefits from stretching and yawning.
The Benefits of Stretching
Protect the joints of your body. While you are stretching, you are also refilling your joints with synovial fluid. This fluid is essential to lubricate your joints and get your limbs moving at ease again. Without it, our joints will tear and wear out from the friction of movements, and this will cause us a lot of pain as we age.
Improve your body posture and prevent back pain. After long hours of sleeping in the same position, it can cause sustained compression to parts of your body muscle. Stretching it out helps loosen the stiff muscles and bring our body back to its proper posture again. Carrying a lousy posture throughout the day will add strain on our back, causing pain and discomfort.
Boost up your mood throughout the day. When you stretch, you are moving your body. Any active movements of the body help boost the release of tiny magical neurochemicals called endorphins. The function of endorphins is known to relieve pain, promote pleasure and the feeling of well-being. How great is it that, from a simple stretch, you will feel more positive to start your day!
Pandiculate with Care. While stretching yourself out in bed is the best way to start your day off, remember to practice it carefully, especially if you have any injuries on the joints or muscles. Avoid stretching the wounded area as you might worsen the condition. Also, never overstretch yourself because it could inflict unwanted injuries to your nerves.
Love and be gentle to our body, and our body will thank us for it.
Make stretching a habit of your wake-up routine, and you will begin to embrace the joy and benefits of pandiculating in no time.
To conclude, stretching yourself in bed has its many benefits. Not only does it prepare your body for the new day, but it also relaxes your joints and muscle to protect them against injuries. Furthermore, it also enhances your mood for the day. Do remember to practice your morning bed stretches with caution. STAY SAFE!!!