4 Easy tips to improve mobility with a full schedule
When you first start working out, you take every piece of it seriously. You diligently research and buy all the best shoes, clothes, and gear that you need for your new athletic venture. Because look the part, right? But slowly, as the newness fades away, so does some of your enthusiasm. You add a happy hour here, more hours at your job there, and something’s got to give.
In my life, weightlifting is the cornerstone, so it stays in the picture no matter what else I have going on. Stretching and mobility on the other hand? Even though they should go hand in hand with training, they take up precious minutes that I could use on other stuff. Like, ya know…not being at the gym anymore.
So for my fellow busy people who let mobility fall by the wayside as the calendar gets fuller, these tips are for you. Don’t worry, there are lots of things you can to do improve your mobility that don’t require big shake-ups to your routine, and I have four recommendations to start you out.
1) Get moving. If you have a client or friend who would be receptive to it, try having a walking meeting or get-together instead of “the usual”. You’ll burn some extra calories and spend some time away from the dreaded desk chair, and since having conversations side-by-side rather than face-to-face feels cooperative rather than competitive, you may even land that deal you were hoping for!
Even if your peers aren’t game for a stroll, you don’t need an excuse to go for a walk by yourself. Take the long way to the coffee machine or restroom, or walk to lunch nearby instead of driving. The short break and boost to your circulation could make you more productive!
2) Fix your bag, fix your posture. Bringing your laptop with you? Messenger bags and shoulder-slung totes might look nice, but they put an uneven load on your spine. Try a backpack instead to more evenly distribute the weight of what you’re carrying.
3) Stretch your chest. Even if we’re on the go often, many of us do the bulk of our work seated at a computer. If you have the luxury of working from home, you might even work from the couch. Either way, when we sit in front of that screen, our shoulders can round forward and cause spinal misalignment. To counteract this, try some stretches for the chest, like this pectoral stretch you can easily perform in any doorway.
Step 1: Stand in a doorway with your body perpendicular to the wall
Step 2: Place your right arm in the touchdown position with palm facing away from you
Step 3: Place palm and elbow against the door frame and walk forward until you feel a gentle stretch in your pec. Hold for 30-60 seconds, then repeat on opposite side.
4) Squeeze your glutes. I’m sure this won’t be the first time someone has told you to take the stairs instead of the elevator, and that’s because it’s great advice. Going up stairs activates big muscle groups like the glutes, and that means calories are burnin’. Plus, if you’re someone who sits a lot, it’s smart to activate your glutes during the day to balance out inactivity. When your glutes are inactive for too long, it can cause tightness in the hip flexors and eventually, back pain.
If there are no stairs around or you’re commuting or traveling, you can still get some glute activity in by squeezing your cheeks together while seated. Yes, it may feel silly, but I promise no one will notice. Hold the glute squeeze for 3 seconds, then release for 3 seconds. Repeat 15 times, for a total of three sets. This is an easy one you can do literally anywhere.
As mentioned above, inactive glutes can mean tight hip flexors and back pain, so a perfect complement to these simple glute exercises is this hip flexor stretch you can do while standing.
Step 1: With feet hip width apart, place right foot 2-3 feet ahead of left foot.
Step 2: Balance your weight between front (right) foot and the ball of your back (left) foot with knees slightly bent
Step 3: Press your left hip forward until you feel a stretch in the front of the hip
Step 4: Hold the stretch for 15-30 seconds, squeeze the opposite glue for 5 seconds then release during the stretch a couple times, then repeat on the other side
So you’ve been too busy for mobility lately, don’t feel guilty. Instead, incorporate one or all of these four simple mobility suggestions into your daily routine and start feeling better now!
What’s one of your favorite stretching exercises when busy?