Whether it’s getting up to use the bathroom or doing a full-on exercise routine, you’re moving all day. But as you get older, it’s easy to develop little aches and pains that get in the way of your mobility — that’s why it’s so crucial to keep limber as much as possible, Jenny McClendon, MS, PT, founder of Jenny Fit Start, tells Yahoo Life.
“As we get older, the more active we become, the easier our daily activities will be for us,” she says. “Motion is the lotion for our bodies.” Sitting at a desk for long hours, watching TV for longer stretches or even just lounging around can eventually make you feel less flexible — and that can raise your risk of developing pain.
McClendon has developed five moves you can do to keep your muscles feeling limber and, she says, they work for everybody. “What I really like about these exercises is that they’re for everybody, any age, any level, any size,” she says. “So if you’re super athletic and fit, they’re still beneficial for you because it can keep your muscles loose.”
Want to increase your flexibility, improve your posture and enhance your athletic performance? Give these mobility-enhancing moves from McClendon a try.
Shoulder rolls and arm circles
Start by standing with your feet hip-width apart and your arms by your side. Lift your shoulders up and rotate them backwards so that it looks like you’re doing a small circle backwards. Then, lift your shoulders up so that your elbows come back. “This will really help increase our flexibility in our chest muscles and the strength in our upper back muscles,” McClendon says.
Bend and Reach
Stand with your feet hip-width apart and put one hand on your hip. Take the other arm and reach up and over as high and far as you can . As you come up, reach down toward your toes as far as you can to increase your range of motion.
Sit in a chair with your knees at a 90-degree angle and your feet flat on the floor. Scoot your butt forward to the edge, tuck your feet under and lean so that your nose is over your toes. Without using your hands to push on your chair, stand up. Then, start lowering back down. “This will really help work our quadriceps, our glutes, and help strengthen the muscles all around the knees so that we’re able to get in and out of chairs easily,” McClendon says.
Seated rotation twist
Sit in a chair and scoot so that your butt is on the end. Pick one leg up and cross it over your opposite leg. then, take your opposite hand and use it to hold your knee in place. Raise the other arm up and behind your back, creating a slight twist in your back. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds. “This is really great for increasing our joint mobility so that we can be able to reach behind us, get out of bed easily and other activities with a chair to your side,” McClendon says.
Stand next to the back of a chair and rest your hand on the chair back for balance. Take your outside leg, cross it in front of your body, rotate it out, and bring it down in a big hip circle. This, McClendon says, is “really great for opening the hip joint and increasing our joint mobility in the hip.”
McClendon points out that these moves can be done anywhere, anytime, “in the comfort of your own home, no equipment needed, and really in less than 10 minutes.”
Everyone is different, McClendon says, but “with consistency, you can see and feel a difference in your mobility and as little as to two to six weeks.”