For many of us, it's relatively easy to spend an hour working out in the gym—but staying an extra fifteen minutes to do some proper cool down and stretching feels a little too easy to skip.
The truth is, spending even just five to ten minutes per day working on your mobility can be a major boon for your health. By ensuring your movement is healthy and optimal, you can potentially heal injury, avoid injury, and improve your physical potential.
So, let this be the summer where you make a newfound commitment to improving your mobility, flexibility, and range of motion, and check out some of our tips below to help get you started.
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5 Tips for Maximizing Your Mobility
1) Remember: only stretch when adequately warmed up.
There's no point in stretching a cold muscle since the tissues won't be as pliable and your session won't be as effective—not to mention you'll be putting yourself at greater risk of injury!
Only and always stretch following a workout or adequate warm-up session so your body is warm and the circulation is flowing.
2) For static stretching, make sure you're holding a position for at least 90 seconds.
Doing a quick quad stretch for 30 seconds isn't enough time to get past the "creep" property of connective tissue—meaning that when you release the position, it'll go right back to its previous length (sort of like a rubber band).
Research suggests that you need to be holding all static stretches for at least 90 seconds to two minutes for a true change in tissue length to occur. So, get out your timer and commit to the minimum effective dose.
3) Explore other means of mobility.
There's so much more to mobility than just static holds. In our June mobility workshop, we explore additional techniques including banded distraction and self-myofascial release which can help loosen up the neural tension, fascial adhesions, scar tissue, and so on.
4) Know your areas of limitations.
It's not ideal to stretch willy-nilly, since you may end up focusing effort on areas that aren't as limited as other areas that could use your attention. So, pay attention to your movement and look for stretches that address your unique restrictions.
If you need help identifying areas of your body that are limited in movement, consider consulting with a personal trainer. They're experts in human movement and can pinpoint areas you need to work on for maximum benefit!
5) Dedicate a "mobility day" into your training schedule.
If you normally rest on a Sunday, why not plan a thirty-minute mobility session to work on your known limitations? You'll get a lot done and be more inspired to keep it up during the rest of the week.