The importance of mobility
You love walking; you regularly crush cardio. Maybe you work in some resistance training and rest a day or two each week – maybe it’s even “active rest” with some yoga or other gentle stretching.
If this fitness routine sounds even close to yours, good on you – and now, there’s another smart way to up-level your long-term wellness through movement. “Everybody should be working on their mobility,” says fitness professional Charlee Atkins, creator of the popular app, Le Sweat TV. “The reason I coach my clients to do mobility is that as we get older, we kind of want to do things that are going to help us be able to move and have increased mobility as we age. That’s why it’s important for everyone to have a mobility routine – but especially as we get older.”
We caught up with Atkins to learn about some of the best exercises you can do to improve, or maintain, your mobility. “I have a mobility program that lasts five to 10 minutes,” which, Atkins tells us, she thinks everybody should be doing each day.
The 90-90 stretch is traditionally done seated on the floor, but note that a good way to modify this stretch is by elevating your sitting position on a chair or yoga block.
This stretch targets the hips and lower back. The 90-90 stretch helps decrease muscle tension and increase your range of motion at the joint, which can help limit pain or decrease your chance of experiencing an injury.
Start with both knees bent in a 90-degree angle – both going in the same direction – while you flex both.
Sit up tall and keep your back straight. You’ll get a feel: depending on where you want to feel the stretch will determine which way you angle your torso.
To increase the intensity of this stretch, you can intermittently drive the shin down in the ground for about 10 to 15 seconds at a time. Just listen to your body and don’t push yourself to do anything that feels too uncomfortable.
Passively hold the stretch for 60 seconds, and intermittently contract and then relax your muscles for an additional 60 seconds for a total of two minutes.
The ankle stretch exercise targets the ankle to help alleviate tension experienced at the knee.
Start standing next to a wall, with one toe touching the wall.
Bring the toe of your back foot to match the heel of your front foot so that you’re standing one foot’s length away from the wall.
Push your knee past your toes, keeping the heel on the ground until you feel a stretch in your calf.
Passively stretch for 60 seconds and intermittently contract and relax for an additional 60 seconds for a total of two minutes. You can increase the intensity of the stretch by intermittently pushing the foot into the ground like you are pushing the gas pedal in a car for 10 to 15 seconds at a time.