By Matt Evans
Lots of people prioritise different kinds of exercise, depending on what's most important to them. Some people almost exclusively do cardiovascular workouts, whether that's going for a gentle jog or doing dynamic HIIT workouts. Others practice strength training to prioritise getting stronger.
However, one aspect of exercise very often neglected is mobility. Staying limber and flexible is of vital importance to everyone, especially as we age. Fortunately, you're in luck: expert pilates instructor and personal trainer Sophia Rose Wellness took over our Instagram account recently to bring you a gentle 45-minute pilates-inspired flow, designed to help stretch those muscles and work on your mobility.
As a gentle exercise flow, it should be accessible for many people, or easily adaptable if you can't complete the stretches as they are. Check out the flow in full below:
Why is mobility so important?
As we age, our muscles begin to shorten and contract, which is what we refer to as "tight" muscles. This is a natural part of the ageing process, but it prevents us from being as active as we were a few years ago. In addition, our muscles waste and become weaker, which prevents us from performing the same movements we used to.
Stretching is a great way to combat this. With repeated mobility work, we're able to lengthen those muscles and improve the range of motion in our joints, so our muscles have further to contract as we age. This provides us with more time, actively fighting against the process of ageing.
Stretching is also important in sport and fitness. If we suddenly move to a point which is beyond our muscle's range of motion, we could injure ourselves. Increasing our range of motion with stretching helps prevent this. For more, check out our beginner's guide to stretching exercises.
Sophia Rose's mobility-focused pilates routine is perfect to get our mobility fix. One study from researchers in Busan, Korea, published in the Journal of Exercise Rehabilitation, examined whether pilates and yoga could increase not just our range of motion, but our overall health.
As defined by the World Health Organisation, health doesn't just mean an absence of illness or disease, but a combination of physical, mental and social wellbeing.
The study split its participants into three groups, having one group do no exercise, one group do yoga and a third group try pilates for eight weeks. At the end of the trial period, the pilates group scored top in both range of motion improvement and overall health, beaten even the group doing yoga classes.
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Matt Evans is an experienced health and fitness journalist and Channel Editor at Fit&Well. He's previously written for titles like Men's Health and Red Bull, and covers all things exercise and nutrition on the Fit&Well website. Matt originally discovered exercise through martial arts: he holds a black belt in Karate and remains a keen kickboxer and runner. His top fitness tip? Stretch.
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