6 Stretching And Mobility Exercises To Try Today

When it comes to improving fitness, many of us forget the basic building blocks that allow for proper technique and a better range of motion. Stretching and mobility movements are often the more underrated components of a great exercise routine but can go a long way in reducing the risk of injury and improving quality of life.
We caught up with local Personal Trainer Meg Culhane from Fit ‘n’ Kicking in Launceston who gave us six exercises for improving flexibility and mobility below.
Stretching Exercise 1 – Reclining Twists
 Lie on your back on the floor with knees bent and feet on the ground. Have your arms outstretched and palms facing up towards the ceiling. Keeping your knees together, gently roll your knees to one side of the room while keeping both shoulder blades in contact with the floor. Rotate your head to the opposite direction of your knees and hold for at least 15 seconds. Repeat this on both sides.
Stretching Exercise 2 – Shoulder Stretch
 Stand about half a metre away from a wall, facing the wall. Stretch out both arms in-front of you towards the wall and push your palms flat against the wall while simultaneously pushing your hips away from the wall making a slight c-curve with your upper back. Continue pushing away from the wall until you feel a nice stretch through your shoulder blades and shoulder joint. Hold for 15-30 seconds and repeat.
Stretching Exercise 3 – Lunge Hip Flexor Stretch
 If you’re sitting down for most of the day, this stretch will help release the tight and sore area around the front of your hips. Kneel onto the ground with one leg out in-front of you (imagine you’re getting down on one knee to propose!). From here, tuck your bottom under and push the hip you’re stretching forward towards your knee, making sure your knee doesn’t go too far past your toes. You should feel a stretch in your hip flexor which is the creased area located near your hip bone. Hold this for 10-15 seconds then repeat on the other side.
Mobility exercises generally focus on a specific joint, like the shoulder, hip, or knee joints. Rather than static stretching which involves holding and stretching the target muscles for 15-30 seconds, mobility exercises encourage continuous range of motion through the joint capsule.
Mobility Exercise 1 – Walking Hamstring Stretch
Stand up tall with both feet together. Take a step forward putting one foot about ½ - 1 metre in-front of you with a straight leg and toes up towards the ceiling. From here reach both hands towards your toes with palms facing up, making a scooping motion until your arms are above your head. Now step forward with the opposite leg and continue this pattern alternating legs at least 16 times on both sides or roughly the length of a netball or basketball court.
Mobility Exercise 2 – Hip Joint Rotation
 Position yourself next to a wall or staircase that you can use for stability if necessary. Lift one knee upwards to form a 90-degree angle with your body and create small circles (with your knee) in the air in a clockwise direction to safely rotate your hip joint. If comfortable to do so, also rotate your knee in an anticlockwise direction while holding onto a wall or rail for balance if needed. Switch legs and repeat.
Mobility Exercise 3 – Inchworm Walk Out
 Standing with enough space to move at least 1-2 metres, drop both hands to the ground in front of your feet (bending the knees if you need to) and slowly walk your hands out away from your body until you’re in a high plank position. Once in high plank, gradually walk your feet to your hands, bending the knees slightly to return to a standing position rolling one spinal vertebrae up at a time until you’re fully upright. Repeat 6-8 times.
One Last Tip!
 Like with most things, flexibility and mobility can improve with practice and consistency. As we grow older, reduced mobility can significantly impair our quality of life and stop us from doing the things we love. Adding regular stretching and mobility movements to our exercise routines ensures we’re proactively taking care of our bodies and improving our health.
 For terms and conditions, visit https://www.stlukes.com.au/terms-conditions.
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