Improving Mobility for Women
IMPROVING MOBILITY FOR WOMEN
Ask yourself, and be honest, when is the last time you’ve performed a mobility workout?
We’re asking because we’ve found that the typical answer is either “Never” or “I can’t even remember.”
Mobility training should be part of any healthy lifestyle. Just as you might have strength training or a cardio routine, you also need a mobility routine—especially for women.
Now, when we say mobility, we’re referring to how your joints move within their sockets. The goal is to ensure that your joints can move freely and smoothly within the surrounding tissue.
Mobility is related to flexibility but not synonymous. Flexibility is the ability to lengthen or hold a muscle in a stretch. Mobility focuses on the range of motion within your joints. When you perform exercises to improve mobility, they tend to be more dynamic.
But while flexibility and mobility are not synonymous, they do work together and are critical for us to have healthy, vibrant lives.
Without flexibility or mobility, everyday tasks become more difficult, like getting in and out of the car, tying your shoes, and climbing stairs. Plus, it puts you at a higher risk of injury during exercise.
But here’s the good news: like flexibility exercises, mobility exercises are simple, and you’re never too young or old to start. Plus, there is no specific rule to abide by. Generally speaking, the more you perform them, the more you’ll get from them.
Ideally, you’d perform each exercise daily. This becomes even more essential for women as they get older. With age, women often see a decrease in bone density. When combined with a lack of mobility, you start seeing women who shuffle their feet to walk and have a hunched-over appearance. But daily mobility exercises can help counteract that.
You can do them in small doses throughout the day, first thing in the morning, before bed, however you want, and with what works best for your schedule. The main thing is just to do them and do them regularly.
Now, for the exercises! Here are our five favorite mobility exercises to help keep you active and vital for years to come.
Our 5 Favorite Mobility Exercises
Arm and Shoulder Circles
- To start, stand with feet shoulder-width apart, hips and shoulders square.
- Relax your left arm by the left side as you circle your right arm forward ten times. Then, extend your arm to make large circles without shifting your hips as long as possible.
- Switch directions for another ten repetitions.
- Switch sides and repeat.
Hamstring and Hip Opener
- Grab a mat or a towel and kneel on the floor with knees about hip-width apart.
- Step your right foot forward so your right knee is over your right ankle and your right thigh is parallel with the floor.
- With arms to sides or hands on hips, shift weight forward as you lean your hips toward your right foot. (If you need some balance, place your hands on the floor.)
- Release to start and repeat 8 to 12 times.
- Switch sides and repeat.
- Lie face up on the floor with legs gently bent.
- Extend and lift your right leg about 3 inches off the ground.
- Make small circles with your leg while keeping it extended— make the circles progressively bigger — go in one direction 20 times.
- Switch directions and repeat.
- Switch sides and repeat
Chest and Shoulder Opener
- Lie face up on the floor with a dumbbell or kettlebell in your right hand (You can use a soup can if you don’t have strength equipment or find the weights too heavy).
- Extend your right arm straight above the chest and left arm overhead resting on the floor by ear.
- Bend the right leg, placing the right foot on the floor next to the left knee.
- Roll onto the left shoulder, letting the right knee fall to the floor.
- Now extend your right leg onto the floor, slowly roll your hips forward, and then back to the position with your right knee bent and arm extended overhead.
- Repeat 8 to 12 times.
- Carefully roll onto your back, hold weight into your chest to give your arms a break, and switch sides, repeating on the other side.
Child’s Pose to Downward-Facing Dog
- Kneel on the floor and your lower hips toward your heels.
- Now let your torso fall over your knees, and your head fall between your arms as you reach your arms forward onto the floor. This is Child’s pose. Hold for a few deep breaths.
- Come into Tabletop position, shifting weight forward until shoulders are over wrists, hips over knees.
- Flip toes under and push feet through the floor, extend arms, so hips lift, chest pushes through arms, and legs straighten. (Your body will form a triangle with the ground.)
- Lengthening through the torso, take a few deep breaths and slowly release knees to the floor, untucking toes and moving back into Child’s pose.
- Repeat three times total, taking three to four deep breaths per move.