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Dr. Corinne: The Importance of MOVING to Keep Joints Healthy, Plus Exercises to Increase Your Mobility

Dr. Corinne Weaver : Feb 21, 2020

Incorporating mobility exercises into your day is a great habit to develop to help maintain your independence as you age. Being able to move as you age will greatly increase your quality of life.

airliftMovement is life and mobility exercise is important for EVERYONE. No matter your age or fitness level, if your mobility is lacking, so is your workout and your quality of life. (Image credit: Daniel Reche-Pixabay)

Here are the benefits of healthy mobility:

- Flexibility

- Increased range of motion for increased strength potential

- More muscle activation

- Decreased risk of injury

- Reduced soreness and joint pain

- More fluid movements

In order to understand how to maximize mobility, it's essential to know what I mean by mobility. Mobility is the ability to move a joint through its full range of motion. This is not to be confused with flexibility, which is simply the length of the muscle. The process of mobility is a controlled voluntary movement. Full mobility utilizes movement through its entire functional range of motion.  

Mobility training is the process in which you work to improve mobility in your joints. In doing mobility exercises, you reduce the potential of imbalances. This equates to smoother movements and lower risk for injuries. Joint mobility training stimulates and circulates synovial fluid, which provides nourishment as well as removes waste in the joint.

You can compromise or injure your joints in a number of ways. Even daily activities and exercises make the joints vulnerable. The body protects against this vulnerability by making compensations around an injured joint, and even other places in the body. This is why a compromised joint can cause pain in unrelated areas.

Joint mobility training typically involves foam rolling, mobility drills, and some stretching.

Foam rolling helps break up tight muscles or fascial adhesions to help increase joint mobility and optimal muscle contraction. Tight muscles that surround a joint cause less mobility. Foam rolling is a quick, easy way to help increase joint mobility. This method can be incorporated at the beginning of your workout with your warm-up and is something you can do every day to help improve or maintain mobility.

The thoracic spine is the upper back area where the shoulders and scapula are positioned.

How To Do It

- Lie on your back with the foam roller beneath your shoulder blades so that it's perpendicular to your body.

- Keep your knees bent and feet flat on the ground.

- Place your hands behind your head and pull your elbows as close together as they'll go.

- Keep your hips off the ground and slowly extend your thoracic spine back and forth over the roller.

- Do this for approximately 1 to 3 minutes.

Lats control shoulder rotation and stability, and lat rolling helps the shoulders move more freely.

How To Do It

- Lie on your side and position the center of a foam roller directly under your armpit, perpendicular to your body.

- Reach your arm straight out, thumb up.

- Bring your other arm in front of you, resting your hand on the roller.

- Engage your core for stability. Begin rolling from your armpit approximately 4 inches down toward your waist, and back again.

- Keep this up for at least a minute, then change sides and repeat.

Rolling adductors help ease knee, back, and hip pain.

How To Do It

- Lie on your stomach with one leg extended slightly to the side, knee bent.

- Support yourself on your forearms.

- Place the roller in the groin area of the extended leg and roll the inner thigh for at least a minute.

- Engage your core to stabilize your spine.

- Repeat on the other side.

Heel cords attach you your calf and Achilles, and maintaining mobility in this area of the body helps lower leg tissues to remain pain-free and pliable.

How To Do It

- Lie on your back, left leg outstretched, and place the roller under your left Achilles tendon.

- Your right leg can either be crossed over your left or on the floor, supporting some of your weight.

- Ensure your foot is relaxed, and then—in small increments—slowly roll from the ankle to below the knee for at least a minute.

- Rotate the leg inward and outward to ensure you're rolling all sides of each muscle.

- Repeat on the right leg.

Mobility drills are exercises that take the muscles, tendons, and the joint through their entire range of motion. It's crucial to perform these types of exercises using high levels of control. There are many types of mobility training exercises, which will be specific to each and every joint. Mobility drills are great to incorporate at the beginning of your workout or as a workout on their own.

Leg swings warm up the hip flexors, hamstrings, and quads, and increases range of motion in the hip joint.

How To Do It

- Stand 2-3 feet from the wall beginning on the right foot.

- Place your hands on the wall at shoulder height.

- While keeping the right foot pointing straight ahead, swing the left leg at a pendular motion from side to side.

- Increase the range of motion as you go and continue for a full minute before switch legs.

Hip circles open your hips and loosen the muscle tissue, allowing you to reach a deeper squat.

How To Do It

- Lay on your back, with your spine against the ground and your knees raised to 90 degrees.

- Grab your knees with your hands, and make big circles at the hip joints, kind of like a supine hula hoop.

- Do 10 circles in each direction.

This is a great move to relieve tight hips and glutes and improve mobilization in the hips.

How To Do It

- From a seated position, bend one leg in front of you at the knee so it is perpendicular in front of you.

- Externally rotate the knee, so the outside of your calf is flat. The knee should be at a right angle—or as close to it as you can get.

- Depending on your flexibility, either extend your other leg straight behind you or match the stretch in the back leg by creating a right angle at your knee behind you.

- Stay in it for a couple of minutes per leg.

Don't be surprised if you struggle to get this one at first. Wall slides target the trap, rhomboid, and rotators.

How To Do It

- With your scapula retracted and depressed, place the back of your hands and wrists flat against the wall (think of making a goal post with your arms).

- As you slide up, think about pressing gently into the wall with the forearms.

- Only go to the point of discomfort. You will notice that the anterior shoulder will release, and ROM will increase. Don't force it.

If you get tired, allow your arms to lower to your sides, but continue to press your back into the wall.

This movement starts in your hip and then extends to your spine and upper body. It's ideal for warming you up for big lifts.

How To Do It

- Hold light dumbbells at your sides, with your elbows bent at 90 degrees.

- Rotate your left hip and bring your left arm across your body into an uppercut.

- Do between 10 and 12 on each side.

This exercise is a great way to mobilize the spine and surrounding tissues.

How To Do It

- Set a cable machine at shoulder height at a light-to-moderate weight.

- Slowly pull the cable back with one arm while reaching forward with the other arm.

- Do 10 on each side.

If you're still wondering what mobility exercises have to do with strength training, I can sum it up in one word, EVERYTHING.

airliftWhen using your full range of motion while working out, you'll test the strength of your muscles rather than the integrity of your joints. In addition to reducing your risk of injury, mobility can also help improve your recovery time. My favorite reason for maximizing mobility is its ability to improve your form. Proper form is key when you're trying to get stronger and lift more weight. The majority of my job is spent helping clients improve their form. Without optimal mobility, proper form just doesn't exist.

While maximizing your mobility has much to offer your strength training routine, it doesn't end there. Incorporating mobility exercises into your day is a great habit to develop to help maintain your independence as you age. Being able to move as you age will greatly increase your quality of life. Subscribe for free to Breaking Christian News here

My mission is to help you get healthier without needing more medications. If you or someone you know needs help make sure you reach out. God Bless!!

Keep Breathing and moving,
Dr. Corinne Weaver 



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Dr. Corinne Weaver is a compassionate upper cervical chiropractor, educator, motivational speaker, mother of three, and internationally bestselling author. In 2004, she founded the Upper Cervical Wellness Center in Indian Trail, North Carolina. Over the last 13 years, she has helped thousands of clients restore their brain to-body function. When she was 10 years old, she lost her own health as the result of a bike accident that led to having asthma and allergy issues that she thought she would always have to endure. Then, after her first upper cervical adjustment at age 21, her health began to improve thanks to upper cervical care and natural herbal remedies. This enabled her to create a drug-free wellness lifestyle for herself and her family, and she also enthusiastically discovered her calling to help children heal naturally.

Dr. Weaver was named one of Charlotte Magazine's "Top Doctors" in 2016 and is now a number-one internationally bestselling author to two books: Learning How to Breathe and No More Meds. 

Upper Cervical Wellness Center is known for finding the root cause of health concerns through lifestyle changes, diagnostic testing, nutraceutical supplementation, and correction of subluxation (as opposed to just medicating the symptoms). The practice offers cutting-edge technological care at its state-of-the-art facility, including laser-aligned upper cervical X-rays, bioimpedance analysis (measures body composition), digital thermography (locates thermal abnormalities characterized by skin inflammation), and complete nutritional blood analysis, which is focused on disease prevention.

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