By Emma Cryer, Contributing Blogger
Spring has officially sprung! The birds are chirping, the flowers are blooming, and the sun is shining… but, your back hurts from sitting in the office. It can be difficult to try and enjoy the beautiful outdoors if you have limited mobility. While I’m definitely no guru, I began incorporating mobility and stretching into my weekly fitness routine six months ago. Since beginning my practice, my workouts at the gym are more effective, and my body simply seems to work better - like a well-oiled machine.
There are a plethora of physical benefits that stem from a consistent mobility practice. Today, our short and sweet spring session will consist of slow, continuous movements and aim to help improve your mobility. Mobility is important because it is an aspect of movement that affects your body’s longevity and allows your body to move more easily from day to day. This can help you in the present, and increase your potential for a high quality of life as you get older.
This mobility routine should take you about five minutes, and can be repeated as many times as needed! I would recommend repeating the routine 3 times for a mobility circuit post-workout. We will be maintaining each pose for about a minute each. Let’s get started, and take things at a slow and easy pace.
1. Cat-Cow Pose
Come into a tabletop position, with your hands directly under your shoulders and your knees lined up with your hips. Moving into the cat position, inhale and arch your back, bringing your abs into your ribs. To move into cow pose, exhale and drop your stomach, round your back, and lift your gaze towards the ceiling. You can either hold each pose or create a flow moving between cat and cow. This pose targets your neck, shoulders, spine, and hips.
2. Downward Facing Dog
Come back to your tabletop position, and spread your palms wide. Your knees should be hip-distance apart. Walk your palms out slightly in front of your shoulders, maintaining the wide palm. Grounding into your palms, raise your knees off the map and lift your hips up high, straightening out the legs. Make sure you keep a micro bend in the knee to prevent injury! At this point, you can start paddling out the legs or opt for a still hold. Do whatever feels right for your body. This pose targets your shoulders and legs.
3. Child’s Pose into Baby Cobra
Starting in child’s pose at the back of your mat, kneel on the ground and fold forward over your legs. Your forehead should be touching the ground. Bring your arms out in front of you and relax into the pose. To transition into cobra pose, activate your core and arm muscles, gently pushing yourself up and coming forward until your body is straightened out. With your hands underneath your shoulders, gently push up to raise your chest. To repeat, simply push yourself back into child’s pose. This pose targets the hips, back, and spine.
4. Standing Forward Fold
Standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, inhale to bring your arms up overhead. On your exhale, ride the breath down while folding forward as far as you can. Reach for your toes or the floor if possible, but if you can’t reach, just stretch as far as your current range of motion allows! Hold here, or repeat to create a continuous flow of motion. This pose targets your hamstrings, quadriceps, and abdominals.
5. Reclined Butterfly
If you ever took ballet as a kid, I know you definitely remember the butterfly pose if nothing else. For this pose, start laying flat on your mat. Bring your feet flat on the floor and your knees up a little bit. Open your knees into a butterfly pose. Bring your feet closer to you for a deeper stretch, or further away for an easier one. This is a great pose for hip mobility.
Again, do what feels best for you. Everyone has different levels of mobility, and that’s perfectly okay! This is your journey. Take the time to feel gratitude for yourself, and for taking the time out of your day to take care of your body. It will thank you down the road.
Bio: Emma is a fitness lover, writer, and dog mom living in Georgia. She is passionate about helping others create a balanced life through a focus on health and wellness practices such as exercise, meditation, and good habits. To see more of her work, visit her website here.