Feeling particularly stiff? If you’ve been working from home for the past 10 months, the answer is probably yes. Waking up and moving from bed to our desk or table in the living room isn’t doing wonders for our bodies.
You’ve probably heard yoga or Pilates are great ways to release tension in your body, as well as improving flexibility and giving you better control of your muscles. But there’s one practice you might not have heard of: mobility flow.
Mobility flow is pretty similar to yoga, but it’s specifically aimed at helping you hone your mobility – that is, how well (and freely) you can move. It’s basically the abilities of your joints to move more actively. And as we’re all sat down a lot more, it’s important that we continue to work on how well our body can move.
“There are lots of reasons why mobility flow is good for you,” says Em Rickettz, personal trainer and fitness coach, who shares routines with her 220k Instagram followers. “Mainly though, it can improve your range of motion, posture and body awareness. In turn this can help improve your training, performance and reduce your risk of injury.”
Rickettz advises carving out five to 10 minutes a day to work on your mobility – it’s a great thing to do first thing to help you wake up and feel more free in your body. “It all adds up and makes it much less daunting (and much more rewarding!) if you carve out a little time every day,” she says.
She also says it’s a good idea to track your sessions – this can be a good way to keep you motivated and remind you to do it each day. “I use a Huawei Watch Fit in yoga mode to track my sessions and progress everyday – but you could track it any way you like. If daily isn’t achievable, I’d aim two to three times a week and build up from there. Consistency is key!”
Rickettz has shared a 10-minute mobility flow routine for people to try out. “It’s important that you never force your body into any poses or positions,” she adds. “Try to relax as much as you can and the more you relax, the more your body will melt into the poses.”
10-minute mobility flow routine
Exercise 1: Belly Breaths (30 secs)
Sit on your heels, toes together, knees as wide as the mat. Place your hands on your belly to feel your breath – take deep inward breaths, in through your nose, out through your nose. Ground yourself in the moment and use it to set an intention for your day/practice.
Exercise 2: Downward Dog (one minute)
This is an active pose, drive your heels down towards the mat, pedal your legs if it feels good or just hold for the duration. Really focus on opening up through the entire back of your legs.
Exercise 3: Cat / Cows (one minute)
Starting in tabletop position, inhale as you soften your belly towards the floor and shift your gaze upwards. Exhale as you flow back to tabletop position and continue drawing the belly in tucking your chin and rounding your spine.
Exercise 4: Thread The Needle (30 secs each side)
This is great for opening the shoulders and stretching your spine. Start in the table top position, then ‘thread’ your right hand under your left arm, continue until the right side of your face gentle rests on the floor. Hold for 30 seconds before returning to tabletop position and repeating on the other side.
Exercise 5: Seal Pose (one minute)
Lie belly down on your mat, hands by your chest, press away from the mat extending until your arms are straight. You can also perform this one on your elbows with your forearms on the floor if the stretch is too deep with your arms straight.
Exercise 6: Twisted Cross (30 secs each side)
Lie belly down on the mat and extend one arm out to the side, bend the other and bring it up by your chest, press into the floor initiating a rotation of the same side sending the leg up and over until it reaches the floor. Keep the outstretched arm flat and planted on the floor and rotate as far as you feel comfortable. Roll back to centre and repeat on the other side.
Exercise 7: Low Lunge + Reach (30 secs each side)
Move to the high plank position, palms stacked under your shoulders. Step your right leg up to meet your right hand, lowering your left knee down to the floor as you do. Then, rotate and send your right hand up towards the ceiling. Hold before returning back to high plank and repeating on the other side.
Exercise 8: Standing Forward Fold (1 minute)
Have your feet hip width apart or flush together, create a slight soft bend in your knees to allow for more range of motion. Fold your torso towards your legs, either resting your hands towards the floor or interlocking opposite arm to elbow. Gently roll up when the time is complete.
Exercise 9: Childs Pose (2 minutes)
Childs pose is great for lower back pain as well as targeting your hips, thighs and ankles. Place your toes together, knees as wide as your mat and sit back onto your heels. Slowly extend your arms forwards, creating as much length as you can before allowing your forehead to gently melt towards the floor. Drive back into your heels and sit with this pose as you relax into it further.
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This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.