Mobility Matters: What is mobility and why does it matter?
By RMT Stephanie Yankovich
With the advent of the summer solstice today on June 21, we prepare to celebrate the longest day of the year, newly invigorated by the warmth of the summer sun and buoyed by our gradual return to ‘normal’ life. We have been cooped up for far too long, many of us working from home in poor ergonomic conditions, hunched over a desk for eight hours a day, suffering from aches and pains that are symptomatic of our reduced mobility.
Mobility is an often-used term that is sometimes misunderstood and commonly confused with flexibility.
What is mobility and why does it matter?
Defined as the ability to freely move our joints through a full range of motion, mobility is a key component of our physical health and critical to our everyday functionality. Flexibility refers to our ability to passively lengthen our muscles and we require adequate flexibility to have good mobility. By improving our mobility, we can reduce our risk of injury, decrease joint pain, release tension in our bodies, improve posture, and hopefully increase our longevity. And who wouldn’t want that?
As we age, our bodies are prone to lose mobility, our muscles become tighter, joints feel stiffer, and this can be exacerbated by long hours of sedentary activity. While strength, flexibility and endurance training are important for our overall physiological function, simple mobility is the foundation needed to achieve them and prevent common injuries from occurring. This is especially true in today’s new working environment, as many of us are working from home is less than ideal positions, seated for long periods of time, hunched over our computers, without the meeting breaks and ‘water cooler chats’ that used to break up our days and give us an opportunity to move around.
The good news is that mobility can be trained and improved, just like strength and flexibility, by reinforcing good postural habits and adding a few simple mobility activities to your day.
Summer Self Care: World’s Greatest Stretch + Prayer Stretch + Hip Swivel
Here are three of my favourite full body mobility activities that can be performed daily to help alleviate joint stiffness, reduce muscle tension, and help increase our range of motion at our joints. They also make you feel great!
World’s Greatest Stretch
World’s Greatest Stretch:
1- Starting in a kneeling position, bend forward and place both palms flat on the floor in front of you, shoulder width apart, while supporting your weight on your hands.
2- Drive your left knee forward, placing your left foot to the outside of your left hand and then extend your right leg behind you, lifting your right knee off the floor, so you’re in an extended lunge position. For those who wish to do a modified version, extend your right leg while keeping your right knee on the floor.
3- Keeping your weight on your left arm to support you, scoop your right arm under your chest, bringing your right elbow towards the floor. Hold this position for a couple of seconds.
4- Now swing your right arm in the opposite direction, opening the chest and rotating your torso to the right and reach for the sky. Your arms should create a straight line through your shoulders from floor to ceiling. Hold this position for a couple of seconds then repeat five times on each side. Inhale as you bring your elbow to the floor and exhale as you open the chest and raise your arm to the ceiling.
1- Start in a kneeling position with hands overlapping in front of you.
2- Take a deep breath in and drop your chest and hips towards the floor while sliding your hands away from you along the ground, exhaling as you go. If you experience any shoulder pain, widen your arms and keep your thumbs raised to the ceiling.
3- Pause for 10 seconds while taking slow, deep breaths, then slowly slide and return to your kneeling position. If you experience any shoulder discomfort, elevate your hands on a foam roller or yoga block.
4- Repeat this movement five times.
1- From a seated position on the floor, place hands behind you to support your torso, while knees are bent and open, and feet are flat on the floor (slightly wider than shoulder width apart). Keep your chest up.
2- Let your right knee fall outwards toward the floor and fold your left knee inwards towards your right leg, rotating the hips, without lifting your hands off the floor.
3- Pause for a full breath cycle, then repeat the movement for the other side, alternating back and forth for 10 repetitions.
If possible, perform these movements daily to help prepare your joints for a workout or to recover after a long day seated at your desk. Make sure to move in and out of each posture carefully and remember that all exercises should be pain free, so if you experience pain during the movement, stop the exercise.
Hopefully these exercises will bring you relief this summer. Contact RMT Steph at Therapy Lounge if you have any questions, or if you wish to book a treatment.
Summer Essential Oil Spotlight + Self Care: Keep cool and comfortable with Peppermint
When the heat gets to be too much this Summer, reach for a bottle of Peppermint Essential Oil. Because with the blue skies and sunshine comes the challenges of keeping cool. Check out our tips and tricks to keep you refreshed and comfortable this season.
Peppermint has been a cherished herb since ancient times and with the invention of distillation, it has become a common ingredient in cosmetic, culinary, and wellness industries all around the world.
The sharp, sweet scent of Peppermint essential oil is energizing and exhilarating. Peppermint relieves head and neck tension, promotes clear airways, supports oral health, and soothes the stomach. Making it one of the most versatile oils and the benefits can be easily obtained through all 3 applications—aromatically, topically, and internally.
~ Enliven the senses and promote a feeling of energy
~ Has an invigorating, cooling sensation on the skin
~ Repels bugs naturally
~ Promotes digestive health, ease nausea *
~ Supports healthy respiratory function *
Peppermint Essential Oil Uses:
~ Try cooling your body from the inside out. Make your ice-cubes using doTerra Peppermint Essential Oil.
-Fill your ice-cube tray with filtered water
-Add 1 drop of doTerra Peppermint Essential Oil per ice-cube
-Place in freezer
-Add 1 Peppermint ice-cube to a large glass of filtered water
~ Great for a refreshing cool down post workout, hike or while gardening.
Beat The Heat Bandana:
-Soak a bandana or scarf in water
-Add 2 drops of Peppermint Essential Oil
-Place in the freezer for 1 hour
-Tie around your neck for a cooling uplifting sensation
~ Coming home after a fun filled day outdoors you are likely to feel the impact of the sun’s rays more now, than you did during the day. Refresh, revitalize and soothe your skin from head to toe with this simple recipe.
Soothing After-Sun Spray:
-3 drops of Peppermint Essential Oil
-3 drops of Lavender Essential Oil
-2 drops of Vitamin E Oil
-Top with Witch Hazel
-Combine in a 2oz glass spray bottle
-Spray and rub into skin
~ When outdoors, water in a spray bottle can quickly warm up and lose it’s cooling purpose, but counteract this and keep cool by adding the refreshing essential oil of Peppermint.
-3-4 drops of Peppermint Essential Oil
-1oz glass spray bottle topped up with filtered water
-Shake well before each use
-Start with your pulse points like wrists and neck. Spraying these areas will help you cool your whole body more quickly.
-Spray on tired, achy feet to revive and refresh them.
TIP: You can store this at room temperature, but when at home keep cooling spray in the refrigerator for extra cooling power.
~ When diffused, Peppermint has strong emotional benefits. It’s popularly used to reduce sad and anxious feelings, calm emotions, soothe away tension, and relieve restlessness. This powerful oil can be extremely beneficial on its own, but when you add the right combination of essential oils to Peppermint, you get a wider variety of beneficial results.
To Diffuse: Use 3-4 drops of Peppermint Essential Oil in the diffuser with filtered water.
Summer Diffuser Blends:
1 drop Peppermint
3 drops Wild Orange
3 drops Lemon
1 drop Peppermint
2 drops Easy Air
3 drops Wild Orange
2 drops Peppermint
3 drops Lavender
4 drops Wild Orange
~ Looking for something strong and natural to freshen your breath with? Mix a drop of doTerra Peppermint Essential Oil with a drop of doTerra Lemon Essential Oil in water, take a sip, and swirl it around in your mouth for a healthy, refreshing mouth rinse.
~ Peppermint is an ideal oil for staying attentive and aware. In order to create this extra boost, place 1–2 drops of doTerra Peppermint Essential Oil on your finger tips and then place your fingertips on your temples and rub in a circular motion. This will help give you the natural sense of alertness you desire when you need it most.
~ Looking for a way to repel bugs and spiders in your house? Luckily, Peppermint Essential Oil provides a perfect solution to ward off those creepy crawlers. Many bugs and spiders dislike the potent smell of Peppermint, consequently, Peppermint Essential Oil is used as a home remedy to repel bugs naturally. Try placing 1–3 drops of essential oil on a cotton ball and position them in the corners of your bathroom, bedroom, kitchen, laundry room, or wherever you think these unwanted guests might be.
CAUTION: Possible skin sensitivity. Keep out of reach of children. If you are pregnant, nursing, or under a doctor’s care, consult your physician. Avoid contact with eyes, inner ears, and sensitive areas. Do not spray on face or near eyes. Do not use too much peppermint essential oil. If you use too much, you may experience a burning sensation. If this happens, rub a natural carrier oil (like olive oil, coconut oil or almond oil). The carrier oil will dilute the essential oil and soothe the skin. DO NOT USE on or around young children.