We are near the end of a long year and it is coming to the time where so many of us take a much-needed break. However, from a biomechanical point of view, holidays and travel can be completely different to our day to day movements and can lead to flare ups of pain and injury. We have come up with a list of our favourite mobility and strength exercises that can be completed anywhere at any time, to help you improve mobility after a long flight, or stretch before that surf or game of golf. Always remember to take each exercise slowly and if there is any pain or discomfort to stop the movement. Please speak to your Osteopath if you have any questions about these exercises or whether they are safe for you to do.
Cat & Camel
This is a great exercise to promote mobility through the mid and lower back. It also creates activation through your core and pelvic floor as well as shoulder stabilizers. Complete this 10-15 times.
Set up as seen in video – on hands and knees with knees under hips and hands under shoulders.
Keeping the shoulders relaxed, push your hands into the mat, allowing spine to lift towards the ceiling- arching up. Gently return to neutral. Then lower, inverting the Thoracic spine creating an arch in the back, feeling a stretch through the shoulder blades. Return to neutral. Only move in a range that is pain free and if you notice any pain during the exercise make sure you decrease the range and stick with what feels like a comfortable stretch.
Thread The Needle
This is a fantastic exercise to work into thoracic rotation and creates a really nice stretch through the ribs and shoulders. If you have a foam roller handy, you can place it next to you to help stretch further by rolling it away as you tuck the arm under, otherwise just stretch the arm and mid back into rotation by sliding it along the ground. Only stretch as far as comfortable and each repetition should allow you to move slightly further. If you feel any discomfort in your lower back please stop immediately. Complete 10 times each side.
Lower Back Mobility & Gluteal Stretching
These are great after long periods sitting to help stretch the lower back, or first thing in the morning after sleeping in a different bed! Start on your back and hug your knees into your chest. If this is too strong you can do the exercise with just one leg at a time.
When you bring the leg over for the glute stretch, remember to change the angle a few times to make sure you feel the stretch in each of the different glute muscles. Bring the knees in and out 10 times and hold each hip stretch for 20-30 seconds, repeat the stretches 2-3 times each side.
Lay on your side with your knees bent so that your heels are in line with your sit bones. Keep your pelvis from not moving, open the top knee by pivoting from the hip. You should feel this working in your glute muscles. Repeat 15-20 times on each side. To make it more difficult you can add a resistance band around your knees too!
Lay on your back with your arms straight, knees bent and feet on the floor. By pushing through the heels, slowly peel up your sacrum and lower back, one segment at a time until you are resting on your shoulder blades. Then slowly curl back down from the upper back and return to the start position.
Stand next to a door or near a wall with your arm elevated. Start with the stretch with your arm at 90 degrees, then once completed elevate the arm a little higher to feel the stretch in a different part of the pec muscle. Hold for 20-30 seconds, repeat 2-3 times each side.
Stand with your arms by your sides. Begin by rolling your shoulders forwards, feeling a stretch between the shoulder blades. Then move them up towards your ears, backwards and back down to the start position. Repeat 5-10 times and repeat in the opposite direction.
These exercises should help keep you moving over the break but don’t forget about your cardiovascular fitness as well. Look to do 30 minutes per day of low to moderate intensity exercise. Bike riding, stand up paddle boarding and surfing are all great summer activities, lets hope for some nice weather to make the most of exercising outdoors while we can!
We hope you have enjoyed our favourite go to list of exercises and have a fantastic, pain free Summer break!