Do you want to move more freely and easily? I can almost guarantee that you answered yes. Do you perform mobility exercises on a daily basis? The answer to this question should be just as definite as the first, but it’s likely that it isn’t. How can you expect to improve your mobility without performing mobility exercises regularly? The short answer is that you can’t! This means that you need to make a conscious change to your daily routine in order to see improvement. You might notice that I used the word daily, that isn’t a mistake. You will need to practice these exercises everyday to develop your mobility.
You might ask what is mobility really?
By definition mobility is the ability to reach a certain position or posture with free and easy movement. It’s different to flexibility, in that your joint needs to be stable through the range of motion requiring motor control, rather than just moving through the range. Mobility does involve flexibility, however, it is also influenced by strength, soft tissue and joint health.
So why is mobility so important?
Mobility directly affects the way we function. It affects daily tasks like bending down to the ground to pick something up or putting groceries in the top shelf of the cupboard. Mobility gives us freedom of movement making sure that the correct muscles are powering our joints to move without restriction. Having increased mobility reduces our risk of injury and means that we can move heavier objects through a greater range of motion with increased power and strength safely. It can also keep your joints healthy and prevent stiffness, muscle imbalances and restore your range of motion making exercise more enjoyable.
What can I do?
Here is an example of a mobility-based exercise. It can be implemented before exercise for improved athletic performance, first thing in the morning to set the tone of the day or when you’re feeling stiff or tense.
This is a side lying thoracic mobility exercise, to help the upper back move into a more neutral position. This can be especially helpful for people with rounded shoulders or people that work primarily at a desk.
Position yourself on the ground, lying on your side with your legs on top of each other at a 90 degree angle. Extend your arms so that they are outstretched in front of your body.
Lift the top arm, keeping it straight and rotate through the upper back trying to touch the ground on the opposite side of your torso, keep the knees together. Return to the starting position and complete 10 repetitions on each side 1-2 times.