Stiffness can be a pretty common problem the day after a long work day, an intense workout, or a rough night. You may feel a few aches and pains in your neck, back, hips, knees, shoulders, or ankles, and the resulting inflammation can lead to reduced mobility. If you want to enjoy your day without any twinges, here are a few simple moves to help you get rid of the stiffness:
Lower Body Ball Blaster
This movement can do wonders to help increase mobility and break down any inflammation that could be causing stiffness. Grab a baseball or lacrosse ball, lie face down, and place the ball beneath your hip flexor, just below your hip bone. Place as much weight as you can on the ball and move it around to work the ball into your joints like a tiny foam roller. After a minute or two, repeat the process on your other leg, then sit on the ball and go at your glutes and hamstrings. You’ll feel amazing in just a few minutes, and your lower body will be a lot less stiff.
This strange seated twisting pose can open up your legs and hips, improving your lower body mobility wonderfully. Get into a Runner’s Pose with your front leg bent at knee at 90 degree ankle and your back leg extended straight. Now rest all the weight on your hands and bring your front foot to rest beneath your opposite hip while your knee touches the floor. Lean your body weight on the folded leg to put pressure on the joint, and bend forward to enhance the stretch. Do this for 20 to 30 seconds per side for marvelous lower body mobility.
Sit on the floor with your feet on the floor and your knees bent. Lower your right knee until the leg is lying flat on the floor, then pull your right foot to tuck it beneath your left leg. Reach your left hand behind your body and twist to the left to stretch your spine. Hold the position for a count of 20 to 30 seconds, then repeat on the other side. This will do wonders to loosen up your lower back, and it will give you a lot better mobility for twisting movements.
Neck and Head Movements
We’ve all seen the range of neck and head movements used to warm up before an intense workout, and we know how well they work. Start off by twisting your head from right to left, then tilt it from side to side. Roll your head around first one way, then the other. If you want, use your hand to pull your neck to one side for an even deeper stretch. Make sure to hit the up and down as well, and really feel the stretch in your neck muscles. A minute or two of these movements can help to loosen up your shoulders and eliminate stiffness in your neck.
Upper Back Rolling
This is great if you’ve got upper back pain or those stress knots between your shoulder blades. Grab a baseball or lacrosse ball, lean your back against the wall, and place the ball between your back and the wall. Move your upper body to roll the ball along the muscles around your shoulder blades, along your spine, and connecting your neck and shoulders. You’re going to feel some tight spots in the upper back, and though it’ll hurt, make sure to pay them special attention. Focus on one side at a time, and you’ll walk away from the stretch feeling a whole lot better.