Spring has sprung! Are you looking forward to getting outside, into the garden, onto your bike, or out for a walk or roll in nature? Maybe your mind is ready but your body says, “Hold on a minute.” If your body needs a little warming up for spring, you may want to practice some mobility exercises.
Mobility exercises can help maintain healthy joints and increase or maintain range-of-motion and flexibility.
Good ankle mobility can help improve our balance which may lead to fewer falls. Hip joint mobility also helps our balance and stability. Good mobility of the thoracic spine (the middle back) supports movement of our arms up and overhead, like when we lift something to the top shelf. It also improves our ability to turn side to side, like when we twist to grab something from the back seat of the car.
Mobility exercises involve gentle movement, such as straightening and bending the arms at the elbow joint or rolling your shoulders forward, up, back and down.
These exercises can be done quickly and easily, in a small space, sitting in a chair and without any equipment. You can do one exercise at a time or put them together into a full body mobility session.
It is important to listen to our body throughout the exercise. Being aware of your physical body before, during and after movement activities can help prevent adverse events or injury.
Join Yoga Therapist and Program Lead for the VHA Integrative Health Coordinating Center, Alison Whitehead, MPH, Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT) 500-hour, Certified Yoga Therapist (C-IAYT) in this chair based joint mobility session and see what you think.
If you are interested in learning about other ways to move your body and don’t know where to start, you may be interested in this handout “Get Moving: Adding Physical Activity into Your Routine”: https://www.va.gov/WHOLEHEALTH/veteran-handouts/docs/GetMoving-Final508-07-12-2018.pdf.
Looking for information on physical therapy? Check out the Physical Therapy section of the Veterans Health Library: https://www.veteranshealthlibrary.va.gov/rehab/PhysicalTherapy/.
Mobility or range-of-motion exercises are just one form of moving the body. Find out how to use Whole Health to work your mind and soul, too: https://www.va.gov/WHOLEHEALTH/circle-of-health/index.asp.