Mobility is often overlooked when you think of health and fitness. You'll start your workouts with a warm up and then the intensive exercise but if you don't address your mobility, whether you're injured or not, you might not be making any gains.
If you're aging, recovering from an injury or just plain old stiff, you may have to work a little harder to get and stay mobile. Here are five exercises that can help.
1. The squat and return
Stand with feet hip-width apart, toes pointed forward, hands on hips. Squat down until thighs are parallel to the floor, then return to standing position. Repeat 10 times.
2. The side lunge
Stand with feet hip-width apart, hands on hips or arms by sides. Take a large step out to the side with your right leg, bending both knees 90 degrees. Lower your body until your right knee is almost touching the floor (don't let it touch). Push off through that right heel and return to starting position. Do 10 reps on each side of the body; increase repetitions as mobility improves.
3. The bird dog
Lie face down on the floor with arms straight out in front of your body and palms flat on the floor (your head should be resting on your forearms). Lift one arm and one leg off the floor at the same time so they form a 45-degree angle with each other; hold for five seconds before lowering them.
4. The Shoulder Rolling
Perform seated with a neutral spine on the edge of a bed or in a chair. Raise your shoulders towards your ear. From here roll them backward and down into your spine. Relax and repeat 10 times. Do 2 rounds.
5. Thoracic Rotations
Perform seated with a neutral spine on the edge of a bed or in a chair. Place arms in front of chest in the genie position (crossed). Rotate both arms to your left and return to the middle, then rotate both arms to the right and return to the middle. Rotate through the upper spine, follow your arms with your eyes and keep the chin tucked in. Repeat 6 times in each direction. Do 2 rounds.