How to Improve Your Mobility and Flexibility

As we age, it’s natural for our bodies to lose some of their flexibility and mobility. This can lead to stiffness, decreased range of motion, and an increased risk of injury.

This is especially true if we’re desk bound for most of the day, which can take a massive toll on our spine and hips.

However, by taking steps to maintain and improve our flexibility and mobility, we can help keep our bodies healthy and active as we get older.

In this article, we will discuss the importance of working on your mobility as you age, as well as some tips and techniques for improving and maintaining your flexibility and range of motion. Whether you’re a seasoned athlete or simply looking to maintain your quality of life, there are many benefits to staying mobile and active as you age.


Try stretching regularly to improve your flexibility and range of motion. This can help prevent stiffness and reduce your risk of injury.

Here are a few stretches that can help improve your flexibility as you age:

  1. Hamstring stretch: Sit on the floor with your legs extended straight out in front of you. Slowly lean forward and reach for your toes, keeping your back straight. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds and repeat 3–4 times.
  2. Quadriceps stretch: Stand with your feet hip-width apart and hold onto a chair or wall for balance. Bend your right knee and reach back to grab your right ankle with your right hand. Pull your heel towards your butt and hold this stretch for 30 seconds. Repeat on the other side.
  3. Shoulder and upper back stretch: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms at your sides. Clasp your hands together behind your back and slowly lift your arms up and back, keeping your shoulders down and back. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds and repeat 3–4 times.
  4. Chest and triceps stretch: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms at your sides. Clasp your hands together in front of your chest and slowly push your arms away from your body. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds and repeat 3–4 times.

Yoga or Pilates

Yoga and pilates can help improve your flexibility and mobility. These activities also have the added benefit of helping you relax and reduce stress.

Yoga in particular can help improve flexibility in a few different ways.

First, many yoga poses involve stretching and elongating the muscles, which can help increase range of motion and flexibility over time. Additionally, yoga focuses on the breath and encourages deep, controlled breathing, which can help relax the muscles and make them more pliable.

Finally, the mindfulness and body awareness that are central to yoga practice can help you tune in to your body and become more in touch with your own limitations and abilities, allowing you to make gradual progress without overdoing it. Overall, regular yoga practice can help improve flexibility, strength, and range of motion.

Regular Physical Activity

Engage in regular physical activity, such as walking, biking, or swimming. This can help improve your overall fitness and flexibility.

Swimming in particular can help improve flexibility in a few different ways. First, the buoyancy of the water can help support your body and reduce the impact on your joints, allowing you to move more freely and comfortably.

This can make it easier to perform a wider range of movements and stretches that you might not be able to do on land. Additionally, the resistance of the water can provide a gentle, full-body workout that can help improve your overall strength and flexibility.

Finally, the repetitive nature of swimming can help improve your muscle memory and coordination, making it easier to perform complex movements with greater ease and fluidity. Overall, swimming can be an effective way to improve flexibility, range of motion, and overall physical fitness.

Get a Coach

Consider working with a personal trainer or physical therapist to develop a flexibility and mobility routine that is tailored to your specific needs and abilities.

When choosing a personal trainer or physical therapist, it’s important to consider a few key factors. Here are some things to look for:

  1. Certifications and credentials: Make sure the trainer or therapist has the appropriate certifications and credentials. In the US, this typically means being certified by a reputable organization, such as the American Council on Exercise (ACE) for personal trainers or the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) for physical therapists.
  2. Experience and specialization: Consider the trainer or therapist’s experience and areas of specialization. If you have a specific goal or condition you’re looking to address, it’s helpful to find someone who has experience working with clients in similar situations.
  3. Recommendations: Ask for recommendations from friends, family, or your doctor. Personal referrals can be a great way to find a trainer or therapist who is knowledgeable and reliable.
  4. Personality and communication: Consider the trainer or therapist’s personality and communication style. It’s important to find someone who you feel comfortable working with and who can explain things in a way that makes sense to you.
  5. Cost: Finally, consider the cost of the trainer or therapist’s services. While cost should not be the only factor in your decision, it’s important to make sure you can afford the services and that they fit within your budget.

Warming Up and Cooling Down

Make sure to warm up before exercising and cool down afterwards. This can help prevent muscle strains and other injuries. Additionally, try to incorporate foam rolling or other forms of self-myofascial release into your routine to help improve your flexibility and mobility.

Here are some tips for warming up and cooling down before and after exercise:

Warming up:

  1. Start with 5–10 minutes of low-intensity activity, such as walking or cycling. This will help increase your heart rate and blood flow, preparing your body for more strenuous activity.
  2. Next, perform some dynamic stretches, such as leg swings or arm circles. These stretches involve movement and can help warm up your muscles and joints.
  3. Finally, gradually increase the intensity of your activity, gradually working up to your target heart rate. This will help ensure that your body is ready for the main part of your workout.

Cooling down:

  1. After your workout, spend 5–10 minutes reducing the intensity of your activity. For example, if you were running, slow down to a walk and then gradually decrease your pace.
  2. Next, perform some static stretches, such as touching your toes or doing a quadriceps stretch. These stretches should be held for 20–30 seconds and can help relax your muscles and reduce soreness.
  3. Finally, take some time to cool down and relax. This can help your body recover from your workout and prepare for the next one.

It’s important to remember to listen to your body and stop if you feel any pain or discomfort during your warm-up or cool-down. Always consult with a doctor or physical therapist before starting any new exercise routine.

In conclusion, it’s important to prioritize flexibility and mobility as we age. By taking steps to maintain and improve our range of motion, we can help prevent stiffness, reduce our risk of injury, and improve our overall quality of life.

Whether you’re looking to maintain your fitness levels or simply want to be able to move more easily and comfortably, there are many ways to work on your mobility as you age. With regular stretching, physical activity, and potentially working with a professional, you can help keep your body healthy and mobile for years to come.

Steve Glaveski is the founder of innovation accelerator Collective Campus, and author of Time Rich , host of the Future Squared podcast, and frequently contributes to Harvard Business Review. Find him on Twitter at @steveglaveski.