We all know that it is important to keep muscles strong and flexible. But what about the important things that connect up the muscles? Our joints are just as important for long term health and ease of movement, so they shouldn’t be neglected.
The problem is that joints can’t be exercised directly, so moves for them need to be carefully targeted. This set of exercises will do that. Remember the three vital points:
Repeat each move five times on both sides of the body, increasing as you feel ready. For circular moves, repeat five times each way.
For a change, let’s start at the feet.
An easy move for a spare moment. Stand or sit upright, lift one foot and circle it from the ankle. Make sure that the circle includes pointing the toe down and flexing the foot up. Both should be as far as possible without straining.
Stand with feet just over hip-width apart, and tie an exercise band in a loop to that length. Keep the band taut and step sideways five steps to the left, then back. Sounds simple, looks silly and really helps to support the knee joints.
Lie down with one leg straight and the other knee bent, foot flat on the floor. Take your knee out to the side as far as it will go without pain, hold, and then bring back slowly.
Get your hip and spinal disc joints lubricated by hula-hooping! You don’t actually need a hoop – just stand tall with hands on waist and gently circle those hips. If you do have a hoop, here’s how it is done.
This tried and tested classic really works. Get on all fours with your back neutral – this will mean a slight curve. Then round your back upwards, with core engaged and head gently dropped forward. Release back to the normal slight arch. Do this slowly and gently, never rush it.
Stiff and sore wrists from keyboards not only hurt, they can stop you doing other parts of your workout. Keep them comfortable with the wrist roll. With arms outstretched in front, spread your fingers and then bend your hands upwards. Circle in both directions.
Controlled elbow bends really make a difference – weights are not compulsory. Start with arms by your sides, then gently bring your hand up to your shoulder and lower again slowly.
A standing backstroke move is one way to do this, but we aren’t all that flexible. An easier version is to rotate one arm at a time, trying to keep it in a straight line by standing at right angles to a wall. The closer you are to the wall, the less space there is for your arm to come out of the straight line. Be careful not to hit the wall! Then turn and repeat with the other arm.
Improve posture and prevent the dreaded hump with this simple isometric move, working the shoulder blades. Stand or sit straight with shoulders back and chin slightly tucked. Then just squeeze your shoulder blades together, hold for 5 seconds and gently release.
Modern life is really not good for our posture. If your neck is suffering from your phone, try this:
Stand tall, with feet shoulder-width apart, stomach in and shoulders back. Drop your chin to your chest, then roll your head gently to the right, back and to the left. Keep your neck circles slow and fluid.
That’s ten easy moves to help keep movement easy. Here’s to flexibility!
by Jessica Ward
by Kath Webb
by Jessica Ward
by Laura Briggs
by Jessica Ward