Achy Stiff Body? Try This
But does it have to be this way, and could a simple mobility workout be the answer to your achy body’s needs?
There is nothing like a tried achy, stiff body to make you feel old before your time. It’s annoying and also massively discouraging. Poor mobility and stiffness just makes navigating daily tasks feel harder and can stop you from doing the things you love.
So is it just an ageing body, or are there things that we can do to reduce pain and improve performance for those everyday tasks?
I used to consider myself to have pretty good mobility and flexibility. I rarely got many injuries and felt strong as well as being able to move well. Being both strong and flexible, I attribute this to my training and activity as a pole fitness instructor.
The nature of the sport of pole fitness requires you to get into a wide range of shapes and positions whilst still remaining in contact with the pole, using your strength to defy gravity, and not ending up in a pile on the floor (though that did also happen sometimes too)
Me 10 years ago when I was a tad more mobile
I moved to the mountains over 6 years ago, and started running more. Though I still train I am not doing anywhere near as much mobility or stretching as I used to do.
The result….tight hips, ankles, achy knees and lower back. Yep, I’m 6 years older, but my body feels that age tenfold when I don’t implement mobility training into my life.
So whilst the bones and muscles can degenerate as we get old, that’s only because we don’t use them in the same way as we tend to move less as we age too. So adding in mobility work into your life can help reduce the effects of ageing on your muscle strength, balance and stability.
The Difference Between Flexibility & Mobility
The definition of flexibility according to the Oxford Dictionary is
The quality of bending easily without breaking
But in terms of fitness, we would consider this to be your range of movement around a joint without pain. You are not a plastic ruler that will just snap when bent, though you may well have experienced moving into a position and pulling something.
For instance, being able to bend down and touch your toes and hold that position would be a measure of your hamstring and lower back flexibility.
Mobility however is slightly different. The definition according to the Oxford Dictionary is:
The ability to move or be moved freely and easily.
In terms of the body, we would consider this your ability to be able to move freely in a wide range of movements with control and stability. I would also consider mobility to include your ability to move with or deal with load as well.
For example, can you now bend down and pick up a heavy bag without breaking yourself or putting your back out?
This is a combination of testing strength and mobility.
By working more on mobility you will likely see improvements in flexibility, increasing your ability to be strong in a wide range of movements, and becoming more effective in your workouts and in life.
In simple terms, by completing or adding mobility workouts to your weekly schedule you will move better, have more effective workouts, not to mention feel less old. I think we all want to feel that!!!
Despite being taught in all of my fitness courses that we should work on flexibility and often we were taught to hold a static stretch before and after a workout, the research shows that it doesn’t actually reduce the risk of injury or improve performance.
In fact, static stretching has been shown to diminish performance, which is why I will always opt to use active dynamic stretches and dynamic movement rather than looking at traditional static stretching flexibility training as part of the warm-up workout routine.
For an optimal warm-up, choose movements that mimics the movement that you will actually be doing during your session. Be intentional with guiding your joints through their full range of movement (that’s the dynamic part) to get the most from your warm-up and optimise the session that you are about to do. Incorporating movement with breathwork, really allowing yourself to take some deep breaths and ease into the movement as you find more of a mobility flow.
Encourage your muscles and joints to move to their full capability and you will not only move better, but you will feel better too and is a great way to prepare the body for movement and relieve tight muscles.
Follow Along Mobility Workouts
Here are some of my favourite go-to movement sessions to help my body to feel better and less creaky and old. All you need is a yoga mat and to commit to giving some time to yourself.
These sessions are 10–15 minutes long and there is also one that uses a spiky ball, you could also use a dog ball or a lacrosse ball or even a foam roller. These tools just help you to access a little deeper into the connective tissue, also known as myofascial release and give a greater feeling of relief.
You could complete them as a pre workouts warm-up for your session, or as a complete stand-alone relax and restore session on your rest days. You could add some mobility routine work to help you recover from more intense training sessions or just to give relief from long hours of sitting, which I know that we all do.
It’s the perfect addition to your fitness and strength training to improve posture and achieve your own level of peak performance, whatever that may look like for you. And what’s better is that it doesn’t have to take a ton of time either.
For example, if you are working on doing a lower body workout on a Monday, an upper body workout on a Wednesday, a full body workout on a Friday. You could then add lower body mobility on a Tuesday, upper mobility on a Thursday and then a full body mobility session over the weekend
So if you have been feeling tired and tight in your muscles and joints, I hope that you will give these sessions a go, and I hope that they help you as much as they do for me.
Lower Body Mobility Flow
This session is perfect for improving hip mobility, ankle mobility and reducing low back pain (which is something I struggle with too), will help bring your hips back to their full range of motion as we work on improving tissue length. This work will also help you get more from your lower body workouts as you develop your ability to get into a deep squat.
Full Body Mobility Workout
This full-body session uses a range of mobility exercises and will move the entire body, increase blood flow whilst also calming the nervous system.
15 Minute Hip Release Mobility With Ball
This hip release session is perfect for anyone with super tight hips. It can be sued before going out for a run to release and prepare the legs for work.
I include mobility work in the warm-ups for most of my online sessions, you can see all of my home workouts HERE, and do consider subscribing to my channel so that you can get first access to any new workout uploads.
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