These 12 mobility exercises will optimize your agility
My teacher Gina Caputo often approaches her yoga classes with a comical question; she jokingly asks, “Is anyone in this room getting old?” Almost reluctantly, and not surprisingly, all hands go up! What a sublime and nuanced study of implementing key mobility exercises to optimize agility as we all age gracefully.
Despite what countless consumer brands, advertisers and media would have us believe we can tap into the fountain of youth forever, the harsh truth is that we all age. Fortunately, we can stay flexible as we age, as all health warriors can attest, there is power in prevention.
And, you guessed it, there are exercises that help develop dexterity. In this article, we’ll explore exactly what agility is (and why it’s important!), and share a sequence of mobility exercises that will help you optimize your agility as you age.
Ready for some yoga agility? Check out this high-energy yoga with mobility exercises
with Kathy Kasten
Yoga Agility is the perfect class if you want a fast and hard yoga workout to fun, upbeat music that will get your heart racing and your body moving. This athletic, energetic yoga flow from YA Classes is designed to help you create more athleticism in your body.
Agility vs. Mobility: Defining the Terms
Agility is the ability of our body to remain mobile and move quickly and easily in space. Mobility is a relatively new buzzword in the fitness world, and rightly so! Mobility is vital to the functioning of your body’s muscles, joints, and bones over time.
Ultimately, it’s less about what you do to your body to stay mobile, and more about how you can stay mobile over time.
Imagine yourself as an elderly person. Now imagine that you are doing something that may seem trivial today. Examples might include reaching for something on the top shelf, lifting a heavy box, squatting down to pet a four-legged friend, turning around quickly, or sitting and standing up from the toilet.
Regardless of what you envision yourself doing in your old age, I think you’ll want to stay as mobile as possible. As far as it is possible for a person.
Ready to move? Try the following twelve mobility exercises to optimize agility as you age gracefully.
Try these 12 mobility exercises to improve agility
Begin in a standing position with your feet hip-width apart. Roll both shoulders forward, up, back and down in a circular motion. Repeat this exercise several times before repeating in the opposite direction. For a variation, try this exercise with one shoulder at a time.
Advantage: This mobility exercise improves range of motion in the shoulder girdle.
2. Circles of the head
From a standing or sitting position, lower your chin to your chest and turn your head to one shoulder. Move from one shoulder to the other on the breath before attempting a full circle of the head in one direction. Repeat several times before repeating in the opposite direction.
Advantage: This mobility exercise improves range of motion in the neck and shoulders.
3. Side slopes
Begin in a standing position with your feet hip-width apart. Raise one arm above your head and reach across the room. Repeat the same action on the opposite side.
Advantage: This exercise improves the extension of the spine and increases the energy of the whole body.
4. Lifting the heel
Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Slowly lift both heels off the floor at the same time, stretching the arches of the feet, and smoothly lower the heels down. Repeat this action several times and try to balance as long as possible.
Advantage: This exercise improves balance and increases the mobility of the arches of the feet.
5. Thigh circumferences
Stand with your feet wide apart. Put your hands on your hips and start circling your hips in one direction several times and repeat the same exercise in the opposite direction.
Advantage: Stretches the entire circumference of this hip joint and optimizes range of motion.
Begin the knee bend from a standing position with your feet hip-width apart and parallel. Keep your back straight and push your bottom back as you squat. Repeat several times.
Advantage: Tones the muscles of the buttocks, legs and abdomen, and also increases the mobility of the hips.
7. Wrist circles
While standing or sitting, move your wrist several times in one direction and repeat in the opposite direction. Repeat the same exercise on the opposite wrist. For more wrist exercises, check out my wrist tendonitis sequence.
Advantage: This dexterity exercise improves wrist mobility and relieves stress on the wrist joint.
8. Ankle rolls
From a standing or sitting position, circle the ankle several times in one direction and repeat in the opposite direction. Repeat the same exercise on the opposite ankle. For more ankle exercises, check out my sequence to improve ankle mobility.
Advantage: This agility exercise improves ankle mobility and relieves stress on the ankle joint.
9. Circles with legs
In a tabletop or downward dog position, lift one straight leg back and bend the knee. Circle your foot several times in one direction before repeating the same movement in the opposite direction. Repeat the same exercise on the opposite leg. To finish, rock your hips from side to side.
Advantage: Stretches the circumference of the hip joint and optimizes the range of motion.
From a standing position, take one leg straight back and bend the knee of the standing leg into a lunge. Return to a standing position and repeat on the opposite side. For a more advanced variation, quickly move from side to side and jump, switching legs between sides.
Advantage: This mobility exercise builds strength and warmth. Tones the muscles of the buttocks and legs. Optimizes agility by creating hip flexion in the front leg and increasing hip extension in the back leg.
From the lunge position, turn your torso toward the bent knee from the lunge and reach your hand toward the sky. Switch legs and repeat the same on the opposite side.
Advantage: This mobility exercise improves the extension and rotation of the spine and builds heat in the body.
12. Shake It Up!
Just like a dog needs a good shake to relieve stress and anxiety, so do people! Start with it anywhere. Shake your legs, arms and whole body. Let yourself go!
Advantage: Improves blood circulation, increases joint mobility, makes you smile! 🙂
The benefits of mobility exercises are endless!
In general, it is very important to eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly and move as you age. These twelve mobility exercises help increase vitality, flexibility, circulation, and mobility… Overall, this sequence of mobility exercises will help you improve your overall agility as you age!
Neck muscle stiffness? Use these 3 simple neck stretches to reduce pain and increase mobility in minutes
You should feel good and be as nimble as you can while you’re alive. Above all, remember to keep it fun and not take yourself and/or your health goals too seriously. Keep your spirit young and cheerful and you will be fine!
Get your balance right with this Yoga Flow stability and mobility sequence
with Alba Avella
Increase mobility in your hips, shoulders, and other major body joints with unique and challenging movements in this YA Classes course. You’ll increase core strength, body awareness, and muscle activation to achieve a deeper level of full-body stability (great for balance!) and mobility.