5 Exercises for Maximum Mobility – The Road to Pain Free Joints
I climbed steps to my lecture hall while thinking of a subject on which I could indulge in a mindless banter with my friends. Upon entering the hall, I was forced to snap out of my reverie as a senior medical student of my university jumped into my way, shoved a paper into my hands and elbowed me forward.
On another day, I would consider that to be a violation of my rights to reflect upon the world while walking in peace. That day however, I wasn’t interested in wasting my energy in an unnecessary conversation. So instead, I directed my attention to the paper I had been handed. It was some medical students’ research – a questionnaire meant to survey the views of medical students regarding physical exercise.
The questionnaire aimed to establish the number of students who engaged in any kind of physical exercise and also how important they thought it was. It also explored whether medical students could apply what they’d learned from their books to their personal lives. The questionnaire had queries regarding the benefits of exercise and the diseases that it can help avoid. After the ordeal, I discussed with a few peers about their views on the questionnaire and found them quite unsettling.
It’s very unfortunate that a number of students simply memorize facts like regular exercise can help reduce the risk of atherosclerosis and diabetes but feel lost when it comes to practicing it. They treat that knowledge as matter that needs to be revisited in memory lane at exam time or when they would be practicing medicine. The possibility of applying that knowledge to their lives remains implausible because of the idea that exercise is reserved for losing excess body fat.
That is certainly, not the right approach but the major reason behind it is that a lot of people can’t decide what kind of exercise is right for them to keep them on the go. Owing to the sea of information available through the internet, people feel confused and have trouble differentiating between exercises meant to lose weight and those meant to enhance mobility and general fitness. People turn to aerobics and impractical diet patterns while all they really need to do is enhance their joint movements to keep lots of dilemmas at bay.
So here are five joint movements that ensure maximum mobility. The real mechanical advantage of mobility is that proper range in all your joints allows ideal positioning and hence optimal power output.
1. Shoulder extension, external rotation: This can make your shoulder joints so free that you could swim across Lake Lochness and climb on top of the monster. Then you could write a book about your adventure and possibly become a millionaire!
The following open up the entire anterior muscle chain, enabling full extension of hips, knees and ankles.
2. Posterior hip mobilization and anterior hip mobilization: Abduct for 30 degrees and flex for 10-20 degrees.
3. Ankle dorsiflexion
4. Couch stretch
5. 10-minute deep-squat test: Stand with feet flat on the ground, shoulder width apart and lower your hips to your ankles. Maintain that position for 10 minutes, moving slightly to stimulate circulation.
This is what pro-cyclist Levi Leipheimer and Olympic rower Erin Cafaro head to the gym for but you can try these at home and break the ice in stiff hip capsules so you can enjoy walking along the shore, save energy while running from household chores and use it to make cycling uphill more fun! Though good luck with finding the hill if you live in Karachi (Pakistan).
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