Susannah Taylor on how to improve and increase your mobility

YOU’s award-winning health and wellbeing expert Susannah Taylor explains how to join the movement mission

We are living longer than ever. In 1850 the average life expectancy of a woman was just 42. Now, thanks to modern medicine, it is 83. But how much are we able to enjoy these extra years if we are crippled by lack of mobility?

Movement is key to quality of life as we age. If we stop moving, our bodies seize up and we lose strength. Personal trainer and wellness expert Stephen Price says, ‘One of the most important ways of being able to enjoy our lives for as long as possible is moving daily.’ This might sound obvious, but according to Stephen we aren’t doing it – in fact, physical activity is declining globally at an alarming rate.

Photograph: David Venni. Stylist: Sairey Stemp. Running top, vest and leggings, Sweaty Betty. Trainer, Veja

Stephen is on a movement mission. While many gyms encourage us to ‘go hard or go home’, Stephen’s goal is simple: he wants to help us move better in our daily lives – and stick to it. His recently launched Movementum at London’s Mandarin Oriental hotel combines the experience of a fitness studio with that of a spa, and is committed to helping people take control of their physical and mental health through the power of movement. With a team of experts he has devised a programme that includes positive psychology to help us stay motivated, functional treatments to up mobility, and flexibility and core stability training.

For those of us who don’t have Movementum on our doorstep, here are its experts top tips on improving our movement…

Learn to breath better

What has breathing got to do with movement? A lot. ‘By creating a relationship with our breath we learn to self-regulate the nervous system,’ says Movementum’s yoga expert Liz Lark, who suggests regular ‘ocean’ breathing. To do this, whisper ‘ha’ from the back of your throat as you breathe in through your nose for four and out for four. ‘This can be done during exercise to help quieten the mind and focus the breath and your attention,’ she says.

Boost your mindset

The big barrier to exercise is lack of motivation. Movementum’s lifestyle change specialist Dr Heather McGee suggests we ask ourselves: ‘why?’ For example, why do I want to get fit? Behaviour change is linked to our why, she says, so find out yours and you may just stick at it.

Increase your mobility

Movementum’s movement specialist David Higgins advises starting the day with a simple mobility flow, which includes:

High-plank walkouts – With feet shoulder-width apart, hinge at the hips and reach towards the floor. Walk your hands out in front of you until they are in line with your shoulders. Return to your start position by pushing your hips up and walking your hands back.

Cat Cow – Starting on all-fours, sink your back down and lift your head up to curve your spine like a cat, then tuck your head and tailbone in to arch your spine like a cow. Do eight repetitions of each.

Focus on stretching

Movementum uses stretches to improve flexibility, exercise performance and recovery time. Its physiotherapist Tobina Wilson advises this stretch:

  • Lie on your back. Raise your left leg, keeping it straight. H Extend your right leg straight out or bend to put your foot on the floor.
  • Interlace your hands behind your left thigh or calf, or place a strap around the bottom of your foot.
  • Pull your left leg towards your body while pressing your leg back gently to resist the movement. Hold this position for up to one minute, breathing normally.
  • Release the leg slowly and repeat on the opposite side.

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