Finding ways to make time for mobility work:
Living an active lifestyle isn’t easy, and maintaining it can be even harder. For most people, it can be a challenge just to squeeze in an hour at the gym. Between your career and family life, there may be limited time to devote to your own well-being. When choosing to live an active lifestyle, you make time to train and stay moving, but with that choice, also comes responsibility of proper recovery and maintenance. The more we take on in our lives, the better we need to be in managing our time to achieve our goals but also do it successfully and without negative impact.
When touching more on responsibility in regards to staying active, we need to have proper body maintenance for optimal function and performance. The higher your activity level, the more time you should be devoting to recovery. This includes proper nutrition to refuel your energy expenditure, more attention to relative rest allowing for tissue recovery, and the target of this post: stretching and mobility work.
Understanding your body in terms of how you adapt to training and where your limitations are will help you prioritize your recovery strategy. Each of us will have a different plan focused around our own specific needs. Previous injuries or medical condition may play a role here so make sure to discuss any changes with your health provider.
Here is a list of some ways to fit in mobility work throughout your busy day:
Utilize aides that can travel with you anywhere you go. For example, you can use a tennis or lacrosse ball to roll out a trigger points. Find a time during your day, whether lunch break or coffee break, and take the ball out and give it a roll against the area of concern for five minutes. Repeat on any break, even if it’s only for a minute or two.
If part of your mobility training requires band mobilizations, set up a station that you can easily get to between sets as an active recovery. Avoid this method if you are training at loads of 85% 1RM or greater.
Utilize commercial time during your favorite TV show to perform some foam rolling or stretching. During each break, pick one area of the body to focus on until your program returns. Keep repeating until the end or your show or until you are done watching TV.
A warm-up is a crucial step prior the start of training to help reduce the chance of injury. Instead of jumping on a bike or jogging on a treadmill, utilize a dynamic warm-up (also known as calisthenics) like performing butt-kicks, high-knees, . The goal is to increase heart rate but also target mobility.
Focus on time management to allow for more mobility work. Although this may be challenging, staying motivated and allotting time to properly care for your body will yield better results in the future with minimal risk of injury. Utilize digital reminders on your phone to keep mobility on your mind.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Stretching should always be done after a solid warm-up to increase blood flow to the muscles and increase elasticity. Also, make sure to reach your limits and hold for 30 or more seconds. Stretching only works when enough load is placed through the muscle and maintained for an extended period. Bouncing will typically not improve length and may cause damage. Utilize repetitive movement for mobilization techniques targeting joints, not muscles. Rolling with a ball or foam can be done without a warm-up but not preferred.
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-Dr. Ilya Gluskin PT, DPT