These exercises ensure that all the major joints and muscles are moved through their complete range of movement with time.
Mobility exercises should be done at an unhurried, relaxed tempo. Increased range should be coaxed, not forced. Breathing should be free and easy, to the rhythm of the movement.
About 10 or 12 repetitions is enough for each exercise and there is no need to increase the number or the speed of the movement. Progress is achieved by gently increasing the range of the movement or, when you are mobile, maintaining this level of flexibility.
Start: feet wide astride, arms hanging loosely by your sides.
Movement: raise both arms forwards, upwards, backwards and sideways, in a circular motion, brushing your ears with your arms as you go past.
Start: feet wide apart, hands on hips.
Movement: bend first to the left, then to the right, keeping the head at right angles to the trunk.
Head arms and trunk rotating
Start: feet wide astride, hands and arms reaching directly forwards at shoulder level.
Movement: turn the head, arms and shoulder around to the left as far as you can go, bending the right arm across the chest. Then repeat the movement to the right. Keep the hips still throughout.
Alternate ankle reach
Start: feet wide apart, both palms on the front of the upper left thigh.
Movement: relax the trunk forward as you slide both hands down the front of the left leg. Return to the upright position then repeat on the right. Don't go further than you can comfortably manage.
These exercises should be performed slowly, rhythmically and within the LIMITS OF PAIN. If you feel pain then STOP IMMEDIATELY, do not try to work through it.
Starting position for all the exercises is on all fours. Hands should be placed shoulders width apart, knees slightly apart, arms and thighs vertical.
- Arch the back, at the same time look down at the floor. Lower the stomach towards the floor, at the same time look up to the ceiling.
- Slowly walk the hands around to the right, back to the starting position, then around to the left = supported side bend.
- Raise on hand off the floor, reach underneath the body as far as you can. On the return, swing the arm out to the side and upward as far as you can then return to starting position. Follow the moving hand with the eyes.
- Draw alternate knees to the opposite elbow.
- Stretch on arm forward in front, at the same time stretching the opposite leg out behind.
- Try and move your seat (swinging your seat) from side to side.
- Sit back on your heels, transfer your weight forward keeping your nose close to the ground. When you reach your hands, push up, straightening your arms
Stretch and warm up before any form of exercise.
If your muscles are quite tight you will feel the stretch straight away but try not to 'bounce'. Hold each stretch for at least five seconds and repeat five times gradually building up to holding for 30 seconds.
Achieve each position slowly and gently, avoiding quick and jerky movements that only increase muscle tightness and the chance of injury. In each position you should feel a light but comfortable stretching sensation. If you feel sharp pain, you have gone beyond your limit and need to ease off. With stretches 7 and 8, be careful not to arch your back, creating unnecessary strain.
1 Tummy stretch
Lie face down of the floor, hands below your shoulders, and push up with your arms. Keep your hips on the floor. Hold and return. Although this is a tummy stretch, the main area felt will be the lower back.
|2 Side stretch
Place feet wider than shoulder-width, bend the knees and extend one arm over your head while stretching the other arm towards your ankle. Slowly bend from the waist, reaching further down, feeling a good stretch in the side, rear shoulder and back. Hold and return. Repeat on the other side.
|3 Low back stretch
Lie on your back. Use your hands to pull your knees into the chest until a good stretch is felt in the lower back. Hold and return.
|4 upper body stretch
Interlock your fingers above your head, palms upward, stretching upwards. You will feel the back, rear shoulder, chest, the front of your upper arm and forearm muscles all being stretched. Hold and return.
|5 Chest and shoulder stretch
Clasp hands behind your back and lift your arms until you feel a good stretch in the chest, front shoulder and front of your upper arms. Hold and return
|6 Hamstring stretch
Lie on your back. Bring your knee to the chest, then straighten the leg. Push the heel up and toes down towards you, until you feel the stretch in the back of the upper leg. Hold and return. Repeat on the other side.
|7 Calf stretch
Keep the rear leg straight with the heel pushed into the ground. Let the front leg bend and the knee come forward beyond the foot, until a good stretch is felt in the calf muscles of the rear leg. Hold and return and repeat on the other side.
|8 Front of upper leg stretch
Take hold of the leg at the ankle and pull towards the buttocks until reaching a good stretching sensation. If you cannot feel the stretch in your reaching a good stretching sensation. If you cannot feel the stretch in your thigh, continue to pull the heel higher. Hold and return. Repeat with the other leg.