Flexibility and mobility are some of the most important aspects of physical fitness. Essential for improving form and enhancing physical performance, full body flexibility and mobility allows you to achieve movement ranges with greater comfort and safety. Greater flexibility and mobility also reduce the likelihood of injuring yourself during exercise – key to keeping safe and healthy.
Learn more about the top five stretches to increase flexibility and mobility.
Standing Toe Touches
Targeting the hamstrings, calves and entire legs, standing toe touches also work the back and shoulders. Best completed after a warm up or during a cool down, fold from the hips and reach down towards your toes. To increase the stretch further, attempt to keep your back straight and only reach as far as you can without curving the spine and neck. If the stretch begins to feel painful, reduce your range or rest.
Shoulder Pass Through
Warming up the shoulders and actively increasing flexibility helps to enhance mobility and good posture. Shoulder pass through stretches can also help to ease tightness in the chest and upper back. Stand shoulder-width apart and hold a broomstick parallel to the ground in overhand grip. Keeping arms straight, slowly lift the broomstick above your head and try to maintain good posture and balance. Hold at your end range, lower slowly and repeat.
Neck Half Circles
Essential in everyday activities and often damaged from hunching over in a seated position, the neck can hold a lot of tension and cause headaches and muscle pain. Sit or stand in a comfortable position and tilt your head to one side until you feel a stretch. Slowly roll your head in a circular motion towards your chest. Lift your head back up then repeat to the other side. Make sure to move slowly and to take the time to enjoy the stretch.
Elongate and stretch your spine, shoulders and back with this popular yoga pose. Start sitting on your heels with your shins against the ground. Start to stretch your hands forward and allow your body to elongate parallel to the ground. Reach further with your fingertips to increase the stretch. This should feel relaxing while also providing an upper body stretch that releases tension.
Hip Stretch and Body Twist
Targeting multiple muscle groups at once, the hip stretch and body stretch encourages greater flexibility and movement. Stand with one foot grounded and come up onto your toes on the opposite foot. Twist and reach up towards the sky in the opposite direction of the grounded foot. You should feel a stretch through your legs, back, shoulders and the side of your body.
Protect Your Body Against Injury
Regardless of your type of fitness, from low impact yoga and Pilates through to running and high impact sports, actively working on flexibility and mobility helps to keep your body healthy and protect against injury.
As an experienced orthopaedic surgeon, Dr Jens Buelow has extensive experience treating patients suffering knee cartilage damage, stiffness and injuries stemming from poor flexibility and mobility. If you’re dealing with an injury or damage to your joints, contact us on (08) 9212 4200 for personalised advice.