Surely you know an older women who cannot twist to buckle her seatbelt? Or one who has trouble bending down to reach a skillet in the lower kitchen cupboard? Maybe a friend who avoids going up and down the stairs?
After talking with Adam Lee about how to combat the aging demons, I am all in and determined to work on my joint mobility. Mobility refers to the ability to move freely and easily. Mobility is defined as good range of motion in the joints. According to Adam, “when a particular area of our body lacks mobility, other parts of the body start giving us issues and causing problems. Areas try to make up for another’s lack of mobility.” This compensation leads to stress and strain.
The Nashville fitness guru emphasized the importance of including mobility work in a regular fitness program. Mobility exercises should be done to prevent joint issues. You shouldn’t do them only after you have a problem to solve.
I asked Adam to recommend exercises that are simple to perform in my living room, bedroom, or in a hotel room. He suggested focusing on hip, ankle, spine, and shoulder mobility. He designed the following routine as a warm up before strength or cardio training. It can also be performed alone or, ideally, following a foam rolling session.
ANKLE MOBILITY – Strong and stable ankles make those pretty red suede shoes with the high heels easier and more comfortable to wear! Good ankle stability also helps prevent knee issues down the line and gives our knees better range of motion. I sprained my left ankle years ago and don’t seem as loose on that side. According to Adam, this is a perfect example of less than full ankle mobility and a very good reason I really need to do this exercise.
Good ankle mobility helps prevent knee issues in later years
SHOULDER MOBILITY – This simple looking exercise is harder than it appears! By lengthening the muscles in front and strengthening the muscles in the back, this movement leads to better posture and less of the stooped shoulder syndrome.
With shoulders down and back, extend arms overhead & then back down to original position, bringing elbows as close to rib cage as you can
After mastering the floor version, the progression exercise is standing up against a wall. Stand less than a foot away from the wall and press your low back into the wall. Continue with the exercise, just like on the floor.
HIP MOBILITY – As Adam explained, “when we remedy hip mobility issues, we often remedy and prevent a great deal of low back pain.” When performing this exercise, he reminded me to keep my hips squared to the front. Hips that turn out are compensating for immobile hips – and one more thing for me to work on.
Since there is no “give” in a towel, you may not be able to drive your elbows into the floor when using one. Why do we keep our feet flexed? Pointing our toes creates a shortened muscle; flexing lengthens the muscle.
Try to keep hips square to the front and legs straight
SPINE MOBILITY – Our thoracic spine (upper and middle back) is meant to be mobile – this series of 3 exercises, along with foam rolling, helps keep it moving as freely as possible. When it lacks mobility, our shoulders start doing work our spine should be doing. Back to the older woman who can’t twist around and buckle her seat belt – lack of spine mobility.
#1 – Hand on small of back
#2 – Hand behind head
#3 – Hand across chest
ANKLE AND HIP MOBILITY – This 3 part matrix goes a long way to improve and strengthen ankle and hip mobility. “For a lot of women,” Adam adds, “this is going to be more than enough strength training for their lower body.” This series enables the body to work in various ways. Do squats on both sides, working up to 5-10 reps. Fewer reps with better form is best.
“Foam rolling and mobility work are a great bare minimum in a fitness regimen,” Adam emphasized. He encourages women, even on a busy day, to find the time to do at least some combination. Keeping good range of motion in these joints will keep us bending down, reaching up, and twisting in our later years. And – it’s easier to do them before we have a problem to solve.
Tags: fitness, health
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