Look, I am fundamentally lazy. If there is an everyday task that I could also perform from my bed, I am going to opt for my mattress-covered, full-size, cushiony, feathered plot. I have often said that my bed is my favorite place in the world, and for good reason. In a matter of seconds, it can be converted to a me-sized movie theater, a table for two, a home office, and on specifically slothful occasions, a low-rent storage unit.
But, as I recently discovered, there’s another component of the bed that we’re all overlooking — using it for exercise. (Read: Not just sex.) Call it fitness for the loafing, but Amos Soma Fuller, Michelle Broecker, and Amber Gibson — all athletes and yoga practitioners themselves — have compiled together the new book Stretches in Bed to help you do just that. Stretching has been proven to help your body with endurance, strength, blood flow, increasing flexibility, decreasing back pain, and reducing stress. Not bad for some flexing and twisting, so why not do it in one of the most peaceful, restful, and comfortable places in the world?
A lot of fun already happens in the bedroom, but there’s a way to make it healthy too. The book covers a full 50 practical stretches for morning and night. Here are a few you can try out tonight.
Here’s the best part of exercising in bed: it’s easy-peasy. Because this stretch mainly works with the pull of gravity, it’s one of the simplest stretches you can do in bed. The spinal twist can be done to awaken the body or prepare it for rest, and it’s great for opening up the outer hip, flexing glutes, and opening up the spine. You start on your back, raise a knee to your body, and grab a hold of it with the opposite hand. Turn your head towards the direction of the chosen knee with your opposite arm lifted. The more flexible you get, the higher your knee will be able to raise towards your chest.
The stresses of the day can sometimes weigh us down, and sometimes we just want to be cuddled. You wouldn’t be alone if you often find yourself curling up in a ball while you asleep, full on fetal position. It’s really because it feels so comforting. To convert this age-old position into a beneficial stretch, straighten out your back and lie on your side. Pull your knees in toward your chest and grab your toes, stretching and massaging your feet. Bend your neck back and forth for an added stretch component. Now you’re ready for a cup of tea and a sweet sex dream.
Ever wish your legs were a little more flexible during some situations in the bedroom? Well, you might want to try the Sunrise. This stretch is a bit more difficult (and can be made even more difficult if you’re up for it). Begin the stretch on your side with your knees bent. Raise your top leg into the air and grab a hold of it at either your calf, ankle, or (if you can bend that far), your toes. Pull your leg toward your body, keeping your leg straight. If this is a little too hard on the first try, bend your knee and straighten it in repetitions, breathing in and out each time you do so. Switch legs. This one helps stretch out the hamstring, calf muscles, groin, glutes, abductor muscles, and the arms.
Looks like yoga, doesn’t it? That’s because it is. The best part about this stretch is that your bed will help cushion your belly in a way a mat can’t. However, this one’s a little trickier than the other stretches because it requires a lot of upper body strength. To do this pose, lay flat on your belly, bend your legs at the knees so your heels are reading toward your spine. Reaching behind your back, grab onto your ankles or feet with your hands. Position the crown of your head toward the ceiling and work your way into extended your back muscles into a full arch. Your legs will provide resistance by pushing away from your body and pulling on your arms. Keep your core engaged and your shoulders relaxed.
This pose should end when you’re ready to end it; don’t force yourself in it for longer than you feel comfortable. No need to kill your neck. This stretch is great for flexing the spine, hips, quadriceps, shoulders, pectorals, and engaging the core. The Harp stimulates blood flow and works the upper body, so try to do it in the morning.