5 not so obvious steps to becoming more mobile
Make a decision to commit to a regular mobility routine. Improving daily movement is a marathon not a sprint. It may seem that improvements are barely noticeable but with consistent effort these small changes compound over time into massive change. You may notice one day that a tipping point is reached where things get considerably easier. It all starts with a consistent practice built into a daily routine. You can start with as little as a few minutes. Once that feels easy and hopefully enjoyable you can add a few more minutes and build on your routine.
Check out our youtube channel to follow along to some exercises that we find most people can benefit from:
#2 Be Gentle
Go easy with the intensity of the stretch and also go easy on your self. Having a consistent practice helps with this because there is no rush to get everything done today. On a scale of 1-10 in stretch intensity where 10 is your maximum (please don't go there) and 1 is the first feeling of a stretch then aiming to be in the 5-7 range is a good target. Going beyond this particularly without guidance can trigger the stretch reflex which initiates the body to tighten further in response to being put in an uncomfortable or sudden position. Tightening is the body's way to prevent potential damage.
When we are gentle we help stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system which is our rest and digest mode and where we will make more progress guiding the body into new positions.
Celebrate every time you show up to do your routine and if you miss a day just pick it back up when you can.
Long slow exhales helps calm our nervous system and signify to the body that it is safe to relax. Syncing each stretch with our breathing can accelerate results. Generally we can think about lengthening and creating space on our inhale and deepening the stretch a little bit on an exhale. Don't get hung up on this however just aim to breath slow and relaxed with a focus on a relaxed lengthened exhale.
Athletes and top performers know about the importance of visualization. Before taking a game winning penalty you can bet a player will play the scene in his mind before taking the shot. Why? Because he knows deep down that the mind plays an important role in getting the outcome that he wants. Similarly with stretching if you can imagine yourself lengthening and becoming more spacious you will make more progress than if you're thinking you'd rather be somewhere else. But if you are thinking you'd prefer to be somewhere else that's ok you can be gentle and thankful you showed up because that is the first and most essential step.
#5 Be Yourself
Listen to your body and what it needs. Where possible try to move as your body wants to move. We live in a world where appearance and conformity matter. We have requirements at work to wear certain clothing and speak a certain way. We also have expectations to move in certain ways. In an office we are expected to sit in chairs when it would be more beneficial to change position between sitting, standing and squatting. Squatting at work may look strange but as long as you won't get fired for it, it's worth a try. If you do get fired your boss needs a talking to. Bus stops, bus rides, standing in lines, long meetings and conference calls are all opportunities to move. You may look strange but your posture and mobility will look great if you keep it up and continue to find ways to move in more diverse forms throughout your day.