Mobility exercises are often overlooked by those of us looking to improve fitness and overall health. But they can play a crucial role in keeping you in work without being in any unnecessary pain.
In actual fact, workers in pain through a lack of mobility is becoming an increasing issue, with over 30 million work days lost to musculoskeletal problems. So whilst many turn to changes to their nutrition or taking up walking to improve their health, mobility exercises can provide just as many benefits.
But what exactly are mobility exercises?
What are Mobility Exercises?
Mobility itself refers to our ability to move freely without stressing the body.
Mobility exercises focus on increasing the range of movement in joints and muscles. It forms one of the three groups of exercise which briefly comprise: mobility, resistance training, and aerobic activity.
Whilst it’s important to undertake mobility exercises at any age, their importance increases as your grow older, since the process of aging takes its toll on the body. By abiding to a regimen of mobility exercises you can help yourself to reduce recurring aches and pains, increase your range of motion, and improve your posture to combat back pain.
Conditions such as arthritis, lower back pain, or knee joint pain can all be helped by undertaking regular mobility exercises.
What Happens If You Don’t Work On Your Mobility?
As just mentioned, the range of motion in your muscles and joints reduces with age. Many individuals do no work on their mobility which results in all kinds of ailments such as back and neck pain.
With regards to neck pain in particular, around 70% of people experience it at some point in during their lives. A further 50% to 80% of those that initially suffer neck pain will do so again within 5 years unless some remedial action (such as mobility exercise) is undertaken.
Not only do mobility exercises prevent and alleviate pain now, they also prevent further issues as we age. The mobility work you put in now can help you stay active and well into your 70s and beyond. Therefore, it makes sense to dedicate some of your exercise time to these specific movements.
How to Improve Mobility?
There are a range of methods and exercises to improve the range of motions for specific joints and muscles. One way to pack a range of mobility exercises into one class or activity is to take up pursuits such as Pilates, Yoga, or Tai Chi, which all focus on increasing mobility.
However, there are specific drills you can carry out in the comfort of your own home.
Hip/Hamstring Mobility Exercise
Stand with your palms against a wall at shoulder height. Keep feet pointing forward before lifting and swinging right leg from side to side in a pendulum motion. Gradually increase the range of comfortable motion. Perform this drill for ten repetitions, three times on each leg.
To switch to the hamstring version, swing your legs forwards and backwards instead of side-to-side.
Ankle Mobility Exercise
Get on all fours in a “bear stance” so that you have two hands flat on the ground and are up on your tip toes. Cross one leg over the other and distribute your weight on to your flat bottom foot. Rock forward and backwards from your heel through to your toes and back. Perform this exercise 10 times on each leg.
Back and Shoulders Mobility Exercise
This one is great for improving your posture to avoid back and neck pain.
Begin by standing with your back against a wall with correct posture. Raise your arms out to your sides so that your forearms rest vertically against the wall. Maintain this contact throughout the exercise.
Slide your arms up until your arms are straight and then back down all the time focusing on pulling your shoulder blades together and down. At the bottom of the movement bring your elbows into your body and squeeze your shoulder blades together.
By simply searching online for mobility exercises that target to the specific area of the body you want to improve, you can get to work on improving your range of motion within minutes.
Invest in Your Body’s Future with Mobility Exercises
Mobility exercises can form a crucial defense against the process of aging by improving and maintaining the range of pain-free motion in our muscles and joints as we get older.
What’s more, you often don’t need any kind of specialist equipment to carry them out. Just 5-10 minutes spent on mobility exercises per day in the comfort of your own home can make a huge difference to your range of movement.
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