14 Oct Improving Your Mobility And Suppleness
Maintaining a healthy range of movement throughout our entire body is one of the key’s to ageing well. Improving your mobility and suppleness will reward you in more ways than being able to easily touch your toes or bend into challenging positions on your yoga mat.
It will aid in preventing injuries that can occur as you work out or during day-to-day activities. You’ll be reducing the pressure on your body’s joints and therefore decrease the wear and tear. You’ll see a reduction in aches and pains as the restriction and tension around your body is reduced. Debilitating conditions like tension headaches or arthritis won’t show up as often, if at all. And you’ll notice the everyday tasks like bending down to lift your children, putting your shoes on, and hanging out the washing will be done with ease.
While many people disregard stretching to improve mobility and suppleness, it’s really the third pillar to your fitness. Alongside cardio and strength training, mobility and flexibility can aid your body to reach an optimum level of fitness.
How mobility and suppleness effects your body
Lately in the fitness world there has been a lot of focus on women working on building stronger muscles as well as men. This is because muscle strength is an integral part of maintaining our health as we age. But where does flexibility come in?
As you stretch your muscles, you lengthen the muscle fibres that attach them to the bone. This means as your muscles become supple and longer, and you can begin to increase their size and strength more during your training. This will in turn, help boost your fitness level, metabolism, and reduce your risk of injuries.
During our daily lives we’re constantly testing our muscles and behaviours like sitting hunched over our computer, actually change the length of our muscles by shortening them. Combined with the loss of muscle elasticity as we age, our risk of suffering a strain or tear from any sudden, awkward motion are maximised.
Mobility and suppleness can also help improve circulation and protect you against diseases ranging from diabetes to stroke. More blood flow will be making its way to your muscles meaning more oxygen and nutrients will be delivered to those areas that need it at times like exercise.
How to improve your mobility and suppleness
It doesn’t take much to start seeing improvements in your movement and flexibility once you get started. You don’t need to be able to move into a split or perform like a gymnast, flipping and tumbling on the mat with ease.
That means, you don’t need to spend a great deal of time in order to improve your body’s flexibility, but you do need to do it regularly. Generally, a good stretch will target the problem areas like your shoulders, thoracic spine, hips and calves.
If you’re new to stretching, begin with just 10 minutes a day focusing on those problem areas. You can break it up into upper body and lower body to ensure all areas are looked after. And make sure you pay particular attention to areas of your body that are tense or strained, like your lower back if you sit in a chair for long periods of a time, or your shoulders if your hunched at your computer.
For those who work out, before you go for your run, gym class or get into your online training, warm up. This could mean doing some soft-tissue work on a foam roller, gentle movements like squats or lunges, or activate certain muscle groups that may be underdeveloped.
Cooling down after the workout is equally important and can be done by doing some static stretching and paying particular focus to those areas that are tight.
It’s really a habit you need to get into for your health and wellbeing, and once you begin to do it regularly, you’ll start seeing the benefits in not just how you perform during exercise, but throughout your daily activities.
Here’s some simple tips on how you can begin to increase your mobility and suppleness during your days with very little effort:
1. Set your alarm at your desk
If your job requires you to sit at a desk all day, set your alarm so it prompts you to get up every 30 mins and stretch.
2. Alternate between desks
Sitting in the one position all day has major impacts on our body, so alternate between a standing desk and sitting throughout the day to create movement.
3. Sit on the floor
While you’re watching TV, reading your child a book or scrolling through Facebook, sit on the floor with your legs crossed or kneeling to increase your mobility in the lower joints.
4. Practice yoga
Whether you join a class or practice it in your living room, yoga is a great way to improve your mobility and suppleness.
5. Combine it with your meditation
Meditating doesn’t mean you need to sit still with your legs crossed and eyes closed. You could be combining your meditation with your stretching simply by focusing on each movement, the feeling of the stretch in each area and your breath.