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Whether you’re a runner, a yoga fanatic, a weightlifter or you prefer high intensity interval training; whether you’ve been working out for 30 years or you’re just getting started, there’s one thing everyone — no matter their age — can greatly benefit from: mobility.
So what exactly is mobility? It’s a term you may have heard thrown around that can often be confused with flexibility. While they’re related, there’s a clear difference. Mobility is the ability to move joints through a range of motion, while flexibility involves a muscle’s ability to lengthen. Being flexible can certainly help improve your mobility, and stretching can help improve flexibility, while dynamic exercises can increase mobility.
Still not convinced you need to make time for mobility in your daily routine? These five benefits may change your mind:
If you have poor mobility, you likely have very limited range of motion, which can cause your muscles to overcompensate, potentially leading to pain or injury.
When you’re doing consistent mobility exercises, you may start to notice an improved range of motion during your workouts. Take an overhead squat for example. It’s not lack of strength, but lack of mobility that usually prevents someone from doing that exercise correctly. Improved range of motion doesn’t just translate to the gym, either. It can help with simple, everyday movements, too!
For those who sit at a desk all day for work, mobility is especially important — even if you’re working out consistently. Sitting (which often turns to slouching) can produce tight shoulders, leading to sore neck and back muscles. Mobility exercises can help you develop proper posture, reducing the stress put on those muscles.
Doing mobility exercises and stretches can help increase blood flow to your muscles, which can assist with muscle recovery and may even reduce soreness.
Did you know that by the age of 30, the natural mobility of your joints can begin to decline? Incorporating mobility into your regular routine can help build strength and maintain ease of movement as you age.
Mobility should be just as consistent and top of mind as exercise and eating right when it comes to your daily routine. The good news is you don’t need much time at all to dedicate to mobility — all you need is five to 10 minutes.
Here are six mobility exercises you can try to start improving overall range of motion.
Laying on either your right or left side with your knees one on top of the other and bent at 90 degrees, reach both arms out straight in front of your chest. Take your top arm, and move it up past your head and behind your back, keeping your arm straight and your eyes on your arm the entire time. Slowly move your arm in the opposite direction, returning to the starting position. Repeat this 8-10 times, then switch sides.
Standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, raise both of your arms into a T position. Begin moving both arms forward in large circles for 30 seconds, then repeat in the opposite direction.
Lunging forward with your left leg, holding the lunge position with your right knee hovering above the ground as you raise both arms up overhead. Reach toward the ceiling, holding that position for a few seconds before bringing your arms back down and returning to a standing position. Repeat on your right leg.
To stretch your spine, get down on the floor on your hands and knees. As you inhale, look up and drop your abdomen to the floor, allowing your back to arch. Next, slowly exhale as you arch your spine and tuck your chin into your chest. Repeat this movement for 30-45 seconds.
Remaining in the same position on all fours, lower your left shoulder and the left side of your head all the way to the floor, with your left arm thread straight through the gap. Take that arm and rotate it up toward the ceiling, pausing at the top, then bring it back down into the gap. Complete 8-10 reps per side.
Stand flat against a wall with your head touching the wall and your abdomen engaged (eliminating that curve in your lower back). Raise both arms up to the side, bending your elbows at 90 degrees so the back of your hands and your elbows are both touching the wall. Slide your arms slowly up the wall until they reach completely overhead, then pull your elbows back down, making sure your arms maintain contact with the wall. Repeat this movement 8-10 times.
Interested in incorporating more mobility into your routine? CrossTown Fitness not only offers high intensity interval training in Chicago, but mobility classes as well! Contact us to get started.