Tim Robards' Guide to Mobility & Stretching
Aussie bachelor and successful chiropractor Tim Robards shares his tips to help retain optimum mobility.
As we get older, the natural ageing process can take its toll on our body. It is imperative, therefore, that we remain mobile, agile and limber. Our favourite Aussie bachelor, Tim Robards agrees – knowing too well what it’s like to take on a busy schedule. Tim is balancing his business
as a chiropractor and state-of-the-art training program, The Robards Methods (TRM) and on top of these, he recently participated as a key
Blackmores influencer for the 2016 Australian Open.
What is mobility?
It is a common misconception that mobility and flexibility are the same thing; however, mobility refers to the body’s ability to move freely without placing stress on the body, while flexibility is determined by the range of motion (ROM) of our muscles. So someone with good mobility may be able to perform basic, functional movements but if they suffer from things like back, shoulder, knee or hip pain, then they may find their ROM is restricted as a result. On the other hand, a person with good flexibility may not have the strength, stable core, balance or coordination to perform those same functional movements. You can be flexible, but suffer from a reduced range of motion in particular joints, which can lead to injury down the line.
It’s great to look good, but...
Heavily invested athletes can often suffer from stiffness and reduced range of motion after a difficult workout – many choosing to ignore mobility exercises believing that it is irrelevant, as they aren’t sore yet or feel they’re too time poor to do them. However, without these exercise you can easily force yourself through a movement that your body doesn’t have the range of motion to cope with, leading to potential injury.
Posture is important
Like many of us who have our butt parked at a desk for most of the day, without even realising our head tends to fall forward when looking down to read. Good posture is vital to keep our bones and joints in strict alignment, to encourage correct use of our muscles, to reduce stress on the ligaments, and to allow our body to use less energy, consequently preventing muscle fatigue. Your daily aim should be to get those muscles relaxing, contracting, relaxing, and contracting; to get up and be active every 20 to 30 minutes throughout the day. For example, take a walk to the hydration station, or do a quick breathing exercise to encourage good posture (e.g., take five deep breathes while rolling your shoulders forward, up and back. As you’re rolling them back, move yourself to the edge of your chair and as your arms are hanging by your sides, breathe out). Additionally, pull your arms back behind you, link your hands together, rotate them so your palms are facing the wall behind you and keep your arms outstretched behind you. This movement retracts and switches on all those muscles in your upper back that are stagnant when you type away at your desk each day. If you think you’re guilty of not giving your body enough love when it comes to mobility exercises and reducing muscle tension, then you need to become better acquainted with the following:
Foam rolling: Foam rolling is kind of like giving yourself a deep tissue massage. Foam rolling effectively loosens tough knots in your muscles and improves circulation and blood flow. Try to incorporate five minutes of rolling at the end of your workout, and within two weeks, you’ll be sure to notice less muscle stiffness and pains post-workout.
Stretching: Regular stretching will improve not only your flexibility but your mobility. Aim for two minutes of stretching after every workout, and build from there. Good areas to focus on include the glutes (tight glutes from sitting all day, can result in hip pain, upper back and shoulders), and your calves, to prevent tightness. If you’re unsure where to start, try consulting a physiotherapist or chiropractor who can give you specific stretches based on where you’re feeling tight. Alternatively, give back to your body whatever you take out; so, if you’re strength training four times per week, then schedule one yoga session per week to counterbalance the effects of your training.
Information provided by Tim Robards' for the April Fit n Fast Magazine