Mobility refers the ability to move easily and freely while stretching forms a key part of achieving this. Muscle mobility and stretching are two of the most skipped elements of fitness, and perhaps also some of the most misunderstood. As the body ages, it’s common to experience general tightness making standing up or walking without assistance a challenge. The good thing is that mobility can not only be reclaimed but sustained to your old age.

The following 3 moves increase your mobility as they focus on dynamic stretches.

1.   Hip Mobility Flexion

The hip joint is important as it supports your body weight in both dynamic and static positions. Your hips are involved in nearly all athletic actions—pushing, jumping, sprinting, and changing directions. The hips are, unfortunately, one of the most under-trained areas in terms of flexibility and mobility. The hip mobility flexion begins with you standing in front of a flat surface, ideally not taller than your knee such as a bed, coffee table, or couch. Place the left foot on the selected prop and externally begin rotating your knee going down in a manner that the outside of your shin and calf is flat against the flat surface. Slowly work the other leg (right) and gently bend forward over your externally rotated leg so that you create space in the hip, loosening the glutes. In that position, hold for about 2 minutes and then switch your legs

2. Thoracic Mobilization

The shoulder is similar to the hip as it also a ball-and-socket mechanism. It also moves in flexion, abduction, adduction, extension, and external & internal rotation. However, different from the hip, your shoulder joint is heavily influenced by the shoulder blade (scapula). It, therefore, becomes essential to have strong scapular stability.

Poor thoracic spine mobility can lead to serious injuries to your lumbar spine or the shoulder blade/scapula/ region. For this exercise, with your feet on the floor, lie down on your back with your knees up, like you were preparing for a sit-up. Place either two lacrosse balls or a small foam roller under your back, at a height equivalent to your pecs. Proceed to gently, smoothly roll up, and then down a couple of times.

3. Wall Extensions

In the long-run, it pays great dividends to spend dedicated time to stretching and mobility exercises. This allows you to train or work out more effectively while at the same time reducing the risk of injury. Wall extensions are an effective yet very simple method of improving the mobility and flexibility of your shoulders. Here is how to do it: • Stand with your heels and back leaning against a wall. • Extend both your arms stretching outwards to your sides, palms facing out. The backs of your hands should lean against the wall. • Bend your arms so that your forearms move into a position that is upright. Then move both your arms to an angle of 90-degrees. • Raise your arms carefully above your head while you keep them flat against your wall. Repeat the procedure several times. The flexibility you get will allow you to extend your arms fully and touch the hands together while at the same keeping arms, wrists, and elbows touching the wall during the entire session.

As you implement your mobility routines, it’s wise to always remember to keep them within your personal threshold so that you don’t overstretch your muscles. You can easily work the majority of these mobility exercises into your existing warm-up routine. The focus ought to be optimal muscle movement patterns.

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This content was originally published here.