Thursday, March 23, 2023

The Mobility Routine Everyone Over 40 Should Be Doing

It is known that the weight of the body is held by your legs. As we get old we feel the pressure of walking up a flight of stairs or often hear ourselves complaining about our rickety knees because weak legs are a common problem as we age due to loss of muscle mass. As much as we would like to age like fine wine our mobility needs extra attention to keep up. 

Once we hit the big 4-0, they say it could be even as early as 30, that our body starts its downward des cend. Both men and women suffer from sarcopenia, or a loss in muscle mass which can cause back pain, shoulder pain, knee pain, compromised movement and even loss of cartilage. But every situation comes with a silver lining. While it won’t completely cure the symptoms that come with age, exercise will help. 

Especially certain targeted movements. 

Mobility exercises for everyone over 40 will help your joints stay flexible by stretching them out, it will allow you to workout for longer, reduce joint and muscular pain and even risk of injury. 

Here are some mobility exercises you should add to your workout regimen to keep your joints and muscles supple. 

  • The Move: Ankle stretch —

This exercise targets the ankle and helps relieve knee tension. 

How to do it- 

  • Stand with one toe touching the wall (at floor level) and the rest of your body one foot away from the wall. 
  • Try pushing your knee past your toes and keep your heel on the ground until you can feel the stretch in your calf. 
  • Do this for 60 seconds on each foot with a 60 second break between sets (3sets). 
  • The Move: Glute bridges with a resistance band —

This exercise helps relieve and even fend off back pain. 

How to do it- 

  • Wrap the resistance band around your legs just above the knees. 
  • Lie face up on a mat with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. 
  • Place your arms on your sides with your palms facing up. 
  • Now keeping your feet flat on the floor, squeeze your glutes to raise your hip off the floor until your body forms a straight line from your knees to your shoulders. 
  • As you lift your body, the band above your knees will try to pull your knees together. This is where you come in to fight against the band to keep your knees apart. 
  • This resistance will engage your hip muscle structure. 
  • As you’re raise yourself up, don’t let your heels come off the floor!
  • Repeat for three sets of five to eight reps to reap all the wonderful benefits of this move. 
  • The Move: Long half-kneel with “T” reach —

This exercise helps loosen your thoracic spine. 

How to do it- 

  • Get into a traditional pushup position with your hands directly below your shoulders and your body forming a straight line from your head to your heels. 
  • Then drop your left knee to the ground and bring your right foot up close to your shoulder so that your foot is flat on the ground. Keep your left hand planted firmly on the ground. 
  • Lift your right hand off the ground and twist your torso so that your right hand goes towards the ceiling, your torso and arms together form a capital “T” shape. 
  • Hold this position for a few seconds and then twist back down. 
  • Return to the pushup position and do the stretch on the other side.
    • The Move: Cat cow —

    This move stretches the hips, abdomen, back and strengthens the spine and neck. 

    How to do it- 

    • Start on all fours with the top and toes of your feet pressed firmly into the ground.
    • To begin the cat phase, tuck your tailbone in to push your spine toward the ceiling, making the shape of a hump. As you do this, lengthen your neck so that your ears come down by your biceps.
    • Then, slowly move into cow position. Drop your belly towards the floor, draw your shoulders away from your ears, and gaze up towards the ceiling.
    • Alternate between the cat positon and the cow position at least five times.

    • The Move: Shoulder CARs (Controlled Articular Rotations) —

    This move reduces the pressure on your shoulders and targets the upper back, neck, and shoulders.

    How to do it- 

    • Start on all fours with your fingertips pointing to the sides. 
    • With your shoulder joint, draw a box that will move your shoulder blades while keeping your arms locked. 
    • The first step is to shrug and the second step is to push the ground away. 
    • The last step is to pull your shoulders down and pull your shoulder blades together. 
    • Repeat this move for 45 seconds in each direction.

    • The Move: The 90-90 — 

    This move targets your hips and lower back by reducing muscle tension and increases your range of motion in your joints. 

    How to do it- 

    • Flex both knees while bent at a 90-degree angle, both going the same way. 
    • Sit up with your back straight. The way you angle your torso depends on where you want to feel the stretch.
    • Increase the intensity of this stretch by driving your shin into the ground for 10 to 15 seconds. for another 60 seconds.

    • The Move: Reverse snow angel —

    This move targets your shoulders and back. 

    How to do it- 

    • Start in a standing position with your feet shoulder-width apart. Hinge at your hips and push it back with a slight bend in your knees (until your chest is parallel to the ground) Then, with your arms by your side and your palms facing up, extend your shoulders as far as possible and move your arms as if you’re making a snow angel.
    • Aim for at least five reps total.Some benefits of working on your mobility —
      1. Decreased risk of injury 
      2. Increased quality of life
      3. Increased muscle activation
      4. Improved range of motion
      5. Reduced body pain 

      On A final note… 

      Regular physical activity can help prevent many common diseases and injuries. In addition to your exercise routine, try to incorporate these movements to build your mobility and strengthen your body. There’s no need to make a massive shift in your routine. 

      “Mobility is essential to our quality of life as we get older.”

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Vinita Alvares Fernandes
Vinita Alvares Fernandes is an Economics graduate, a writer and a Trinity College certified public speaker and communicator

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