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by Katie Hough

Are you starting to notice that your joints are achy and stiff when you wake up?

Are you starting to notice that things are getting harder to do and your range of motion is decreasing?

Is reaching down to tie your shoe or picking something off of the floor strenuous on your lower back?

If so, practice these 5 exercises every day for 30 days and you will notice a considerable improvement in your mobility, flexibility, and overall strength

1. Hip Bridge

Best for hamstring and glute engagement and strength

Lying on your back, knees bent, heels on the floor, toes pointed to the ceiling. Once in position, raise your hips, squeeze your glutes at the top and lower back down. Repeat for 10-12 reps and complete 2 more rounds.

2. Hip Circles

Best for tight hips and glutes

Flip over onto all fours (hands and knees on ground, toes tucked). Make sure the neck and back are straight. Lift your left leg to the side, keeping a 90 degree bend on your knee. Then draw a circle with your knee. Do 10-12 circles on each side and then repeat for 2 more rounds.

3. Towel or Banded Hamstring Stretch

Best for hamstring flexibility and increased mobility in lower back. This is a great alternative to bending over and touching your toes to stretch your hamstrings

Sit down on the floor, loop a towel or resistance band around the bottom of your foot. With the towel or band in hand lay flat onto your back. Once positioned, hold on tight to the towel or band and use it to raise your leg in the air. Hold each stretch for 20-40 sec and repeat for 2 more rounds.

4. Hip Flexor Stretch

Great stretch for those who sit often throughout the day

Start down on the floor on all fours (hands and knees on ground), remove hands from floor and raise your torso. Step one foot in front of your body. Shift your weight forward into the extended leg. For a deeper stretch, extend your arms overhead, aiming to get the biceps by the ears. You can use a pillow or cushion under the knee for comfort.

5. T-Spine Mobility Stretch

Best for stretching the thoracic spine and reduce a slumped posture

Start down on the floor on all fours (hands and knees on ground, toes tucked), Put one hand on your head and tuck your elbow. Follow your elbow with your eye as you raise it towards the ceiling and open up your chest. Do 10-12 reps on each side and then repeat for 2 more rounds. You may notice you cannot open your chest very wide as you take your elbow towards the ceiling. As you practice this movement, you will get a deeper range of motion.

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