Most times, people focus on building their muscles and improving their cardiovascular fitness, and completely forget to work on their joints. The joints form the musculoskeletal system, along with the bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and cartilage, which enables us to perform all kinds of body movements. If the joints are not functioning properly, body movement can be impaired, which may lead to some complications.
One reason why you really must be intentional about exercising your joints is the fact that most people spend hours sitting at a desk working at a computer or doing other tasks, which can lead to postural deficiencies that may cause stiffness.
With joint training, you will save your joints from minor aches and pains, and also reduce the risk of arthritis. Here are 4 moves you can do for better joint mobility:
1. Neck circles
To do this exercise, stand upright with your feet shoulder-width apart, and your knees bent. Pull your belly button in towards your spine and tuck your hips under. Keeps your arms gently by your sides, shoulders rolled back, and your neck in line with your spine.
Now, pull your chin closer to your chest and roll your right ear over your right shoulder slowly. Then, drop your head back and do same to your left side. Repeat, then switch directions.
2. Cat cow
Cat cow is a traditional yoga pose that opens up the thoracic spine and lubricates the discs. Start by placing your hands and knees in a neutral spine position, and inhale while you arch your back and tilt your head and tailbone upwards. As you do this, your stomach should be lowered down towards the floor. Now, exhale while you round out your back, and pull your navel toward your spine, then tuck your chin into your chest. Repeat the process.
3. Ankle circles
To do this exercise, stand or sit and lift a heel off the ground. Then flex your foot and pull your toes towards your shin. Now rotate the ankle and point your toes for full extension at the bottom of the movement, then circle around and return to the original position. Repeat this for about 8 cycles.
4. Knee circles
Start in an upright position, with your feet just closer than shoulder-width apart. Bend both knees by about 15 degrees down and 10 degrees to the left, then rotate clockwise, back to standing position and continue. After completing one set, perform the same movement in the opposite direction. Keep your arms akimbo (on your hips) or crossed across your chest to perform the motion effectively.