Fitness

5 Simple Exercises to Improve Mobility & Prevent Muscle Injury

Mobility exercises is a great way to improve our range of motion, be more flexible and minimize the risk of muscle injury when we run, do fitness or practice our favorite sport. For many of us, stretching can bring aches and pains. However, it shouldn't be that way. So we asked Coach Thais Glysson to recommend us the best daily stretches. She demonstrates them for us below.

These five mobility stretches help us to not only perform our physical activities better, but it also helps counter the usual bad posture habits that we may have from sitting in front of our computer all day. Coach Thais recommends to do these exercises at least 30 seconds to one minute each, five times per week (daily even better) to keep our body functioning properly.

1-The Scorpion Stretch

"Hip flexors and the lower back are often neglected in exercises and stretches but they are absolutely essential for strengthening our core muscles. Should you decide to do it before a workout to warm up or after to avoid soreness, the scorpion stretch will provide a ripple release for hamstrings, the low back and hips," said Thais.

How to:

Lie down on your stomach and place one arm to your side. Bend your elbow at 90 degrees (see Thais left arm above). Using the opposite hand (Thais right hand on the pic), press down into the floor. Gently roll your body onto the shoulder the opposite side. Keep your shoulder on the floor and far from your ear.

Why doing this?

Better posture, less tension on the lower back, opening your chest and allowing for better motion of the thoracic spine.

2- The Kneeling Hamstring Stretch

The kneeling hip flexor stretch is one of the best exercises to help with mobility at the front of the pelvic floor. "The benefits of stretching the hip flexors include minimizing lower back pain, improving our posture overall and strengthening our legs so we can for instance run with more power," said Thais.

How to:

Put one knee on the mat, and the other leg at 90-degree angle. Press your front heel into the floor and tuck the toes of your back foot under. Engage your abs. Squeeze your glutes and feel the sensation of the front heel and back knee getting closer together. With the same arm side as the bent leg, reach up to the sky as high as you can and slightly lean toward the side of the leg kneeing on the floor. Maintain engagement. Hold for one minute. Repeat on other side.

Why doing this?

Less lower back or knee pain, longer strides and lower risk of muscle injury.

3 - The Extended Downward Dog

"If you have ever done yoga, you have definitely heard of the downward dog. Well, this stretch is going to be a variation of that pose and is one of my favorite ones. Extend out your arms in front of you to get that great backstretch. As you begin to do this stretch regularly, you can inch your fingers out to help increase the stretch," added Thais.

How to:

Put both knees on the mat, stretch your arms in frot of you and place the tip of your fingers on the floor. Keeping your arms straight, drop the chest and armpits toward the floor without touching the ground. Your gaze can be toward the hands or straight in front of you or your forehead can lean on the mat. Alternate contracting your abs and letting your chest hang. Hold for 1 minute.

Why doing this?

Improve upper back alignment and you can even take the moment to meditate focusing on your breathing.

4 -The Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch

"The hamstrings are located in the back of our thighs allowing us to bend or flex our knees. They also cross our hip joints in the back of our thighs having a major role in helping our glutes muscles to extend our legs when we run, jog or walk," explained Thais.

How to:

Start on one knee with the other leg straight out in front of you with toes pointed toward the ceiling. Keep the back flat or arched as you push your hips back and hinge your chest forward. Avoid rounding down your back. Imagine a string pulling your chest forward. Then, bring the front leg across the body for an outer hamstring stretch. Hold for a minute in each position. Repeat on other side.

Why doing this?

Improve your range of motion, minimize lower back pain and avoid knee pain.

5 - The Neck Stretch

"Stretching the neck muscles has an immediate effect on your state of mind. Lengthening the larger muscles defuses stress held in the body and helps the whole body to relax. Lengthening and stretching small neck muscles will help quiet the mind and bring on a sense of well-being. This can also help prevent tension headaches," concluded Thais.

How to:

Begin by putting the right arm behind you and grabbing it with your left hand. Then pull the hand gently toward your left foot. Bring your left ear toward your shoulder your left shoulder. Hold for 20 seconds and repeat on the other side.

Why doing this?

Release neck tension and improve your posture.

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Thais Glysson is a certified personal trainer who works at LifeTime Fitness. Born in Brazil, she lives in Florida. Thais specializes in mobility training to improve your range of motion. She also creates amazing workouts for your booty and overall body strength. Follow her on Instagram.
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