If you answer yes to any of the following questions then you would benefit from flexibility and mobility exercises.
Do you suffer from muscle aches and pains? Do you suffer particularly from back pain? Do you lead a sedentary lifestyle? Do you have a desk job? Do you suffer from tight muscles? Do you have large muscles? Are you physically active?
Many of the items listed above are linked with one another. For example a sedentary lifestyle can lead to both muscle aches and pains, back pain and tight muscles. Therefore, although only one of the above items may be relevant to you, you are at risk for developing further health complications. As a result, in order to maintain optimal health it’s really important to incorporate static stretching for up to 30 seconds on both major and minor muscle groups and mobility exercises into your everyday life where possible as both a preventative and treatment strategy. See below for a few flexibility and mobility ideas:
Glutes (AKA lazy muscles!)
For those of you that lead a very sedentary lifestyle, you can unknowingly suffer from tight glutes which can further contribute to back pain. Alternatively, to stretch the glutes and increase their flexibility the following stretch has fantastic benefits:
Whilst sitting in a chair or on a bench, keep one foot flat on the ground with your knee bent to a right angle, with the other leg, place the outside of your ankle on top of the bent knee to form another bent knee. Then, carefully press down the elevated knee to apply a deep stretch into the glute. Be sure to repeat on both sides!
If you lead a sedentary lifestyle, whilst sitting in your chair your hips remain in a flexed position for around 8 hours just in your working day (lorry drivers may be in this position for up to 14 hours!). As a result of spending long periods within this position, the hip flexors become very tight. Alternatively, to stretch out this area, kneel on the floor and then lift one leg out in front into a bent knee and flat foot position. When you’re ready, lean into the front leg and hold the stretch.
A fantastic upper body mobility exercise is the ‘Cat-Camel’. During this exercise you’ll be moving the spine from extension into flexion. Position yourself onto all fours so that your knees are directly below your hips and your hands are directly below your shoulders. From this position, you arch the back into an inverted U shape whilst making sure to press hard through the floor to get as much of an arch as you can through the back. Then begin to move into the second phase whereby you arch the back into a U shape. And repeat!
To help loosen the hips and lower limbs, position yourself near a vertical surface, maybe against a wall or a frame at the gym. Support your hand against this surface to help support you and keep you upright. Then, lift one leg (whilst remaining straight) out in front of you and then swing the leg to the rear (whilst also remaining straight) and keep swinging back and forth. As always, repeat on both sides.
Any many more!