Tuesday, 8 August 2017
Let's face it, for many of us mobility and stretching is boring. We don't immediately sweat like we do when lifting weights, playing sport or when generally active. We can't see immediate benefits and our flexibility routine goes out of the window.
However, as you get older, being more mobile is a huge piece to the fitness puzzle. Without it, performing certain exercises in the gym, sport and in life becomes more difficult. This can lead to imbalances in the body, compensation and potential injury. At the same time, recovery is a huge part of progression. The more quickly you can recover, the sooner you can return to your chosen form of exercise to go again. Soreness, tightness and injury can delay this return and progress will stall.
When the Australian Athletes were here at our facility during the build up to the London 2012 Olympics, so much of what they worked on was based around mobility and recovery. They may have trained for 1-2 hours in the morning and afternoon, but following this, they had an ice bath, sports massage, assisted stretching and they did their own foam roller work.
Unfortunately we won't get the same treatment as an Olympic athlete! It would be great, but we probably don't need that much. What we do need is at least some mobility work. The number of people who have been advised by a specialist to stretch certain muscles following an injury, but never do, is very high.
The problem is, when do we fit another 10 - 20 minutes in to our busy schedule to do this? Trying to fit training in to our day can be hard enough.
Something that has worked really well for me, is doing small mobility movements throughout the day at any given opportunity. Here are some of my favourites:
This could be done at your desk. Hold on to something in front of you, drop to a deep squat position (comfortable to you). Hold this here for up to 30 seconds. Repeat sporadically throughout the day.
Use a doorway. Press in to this with your arm until you feel your chest and shoulders opening up/stretching. Aim for 15-30 seconds per side. This is a really good postural stretch to do throughout the day if you are desk bound.
Place a cushion on the floor. Rest your knee on the cushion with your back leg up against the edge of the sofa. Bring yourself into the upright position. Aim for a minute per side or for as long as you choose whilst watching TV!
When going upstairs, drop one heel to the floor and hold for 30 seconds. Do this on both legs.
The key with anything in training is adaption. If you can't commit to a stretch class, yoga or a dedicated stretch session at home, then start by adding in these moves. Do them regularly and whenever you have the opportunity or when you remember! You'll feel the benefits overlap into life and training.