Almost daily here at Central Ohio Spine and Joint we get asked how to improve overall flexibility and range of motion. A large percentage of our patients have a job where they sit up to 8 to 10 hours a day, which automatically makes improving flexibility an uphill battle. If you are serious about starting a program to improve your range of motion then you need to follow these three basic steps:
1. Break up prolonged periods of immobility.
Sitting is not only detrimental to our overall health but wreaks havoc on our tissues and joint range of motion. If you are stuck behind a computer for the majority of the day, try to get up and move every 20 to 30 minutes. We can even help you create a 2 to 3 minute stretching routine that can be performed during this time. You’d be amazed at what this will do to your flexibility but also your productivity throughout the day
Example of a quick office stretch:
- Bruggers relief position
- Wrist flexion and extensions
- Hip flexor stretch
- Hip hinge
- Pec stretch
2. Stability and mobility go hand-in-hand.
Gaining flexibility and range of motion is not as easy as just stretching a little everyday (hence why so many people are tight!). The body’s prerequisite for proper range of motion is proper stability of the system. If you are a little weak or deconditioned throughout the midsection or “core” your body responds by tightening up surrounding areas. So in order to create long lasting changes in flexibility you have to also focus on creating good stability and strength throughout the midsection. This does not mean do a bunch of sit-ups!
Tip: Isometric exercises for the core are great for gaining stability and also limiting your risk of hurting your back. Trying performing a side plank every day for the next 2 weeks!
3. Make it a habitt
Frequency is everything. When trying to gain range of motion within soft tissue or joints, the key is time and frequency. Like brushing your teeth twice a day, working on your flexibility needs to become part of your routine if you want to make long term changes.
Tip: Sign up for our mobility classes that we offer twice a week here at our functional fitness facility. Click here to read more about our functional fitness classes. These classes will:
A. Improve your accountability and create structure throughout your week.
B. You have access to professionals that can help you identify key areas to improve your flexibility. We use a number of different screens to help identify your key areas, one of which is the Functional Movement Screen.
To close: These are just a few tips for improving your flexibility, but there are many more! Your body craves motion…start incorporating these simple steps tomorrow and I promise your body will thank you later in life!