6 mobility exercises to improve your joint health

Mobility exercises help to control the muscles around your joints.

Woman doing Childs pose

by Bryony Firth-bernard |

We’re all used to workouts, stretching and moves to help with our flexibility, but how often do you do mobility exercises? For many people, mobility goes amiss, but it’s incredibly important as it’s all about the way your joints move inside their socket.

“Mobility exercises are designed to increase your range of motion,” says Anisha Joshi, an award-winning osteopath, who’s helped many celebrities with their movement, including Sir Trevor Macdonald. “These differ from flexibility exercises as instead of lengthening muscles, mobility exercises are all about controlling the muscles around your joints, allowing your movement to be more supported and active.”

Read on for some mobility exercises to try from the comfort of your home, as well everything you need to know from its benefits and how often you should be doing them.

Why are mobility exercises important and what are the benefits?

According to Anisha, mobility exercises are just as important as endurance and balance exercises. “Training your mobility not only decreases your chance of injury but also helps to relieve tension across your body. Mobility exercises are an easy way to decrease aches and pains and can be done from the comfort of your own home.”

Turning a blind eye to mobility exercises will increase your risk of injury and simple movements such as bending down can become a struggle.

How often should you perform mobility exercises?

Man performing mobility exercise

This really depends on your goals and how often you train.

“If you regularly train then it is good practice to incorporate mobility exercises into your schedule so that every time you exercise you do some mobility training too.,” says Anisha. “If you do not do regular exercise then the minimum I would suggest is 2-3 times a week as mobility is something you need to do regularly to see lasting results.”

Then if Anisha was happy to give a couple of examples for knee, hip, ankle and shoulder mobility exercises for beginners – explaining what they are, the benefits and how to do them that would be fab.

Mobility exercises to try

Here are six mobility exercises Anisha has shared that you can try from the comfort of your home to assist with your most used joints:

Neck and shoulder mobility exercises

• Chin nods on wall - Stand with your back and head against a flat wall and slowly lower and raise your head, essentially nodding. This will help your neck mobility and strengthen the muscles there.

• Arm flies on wall - Again stand with your body against a flat wall, but this time have your arms out so that your upper arm is level with your shoulders and your forearms are up at a right angle with your palms facing the room. Slowly straighten your arms above your head, keeping them flat on the wall. This exercise will help with your range of motion and also your shoulder strength.

Lower back mobility exercises

• Straight leg hip twists - Lie on your back with your arms out to the side and your legs out long. Lift one leg up and across your body, twisting your lower back. This will increase your mobility across the lower back while also strengthening it which helps to prevent injury.

• Child's pose and stretch to each side - This is pretty self-explanatory. Go down into child pose, then when you reach your arms forward stretch them out to each side together, left then right. You'll feel a stretch down the side of your chest. This exercise is great for relaxing and cooling down after a workout.

Legs and knee mobility exercises

• One leg reach - While standing on one leg move an object (around hip height) from side to side. I like to use a foam roller for this exercise. This exercise helps with mobility as you are reaching but also core strength and balance.

• Wall sit and squeeze thighs - Bend your knees and lean against a wall as if you are sitting on a chair, while doing this place something between your thighs and squeeze. I use the same foam roller from before when I do this as it has some give. This exercise works your lower body and is a lot harder than it sounds.

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