This is a really great question and I know it sounds cliched, but the answer is…it depends.
Everyone’s body is different.
We each have a level of mobility that we’re born with.
I like to think of it as a sliding scale that goes from super bendy, right down to about as flexible as a brick (that’s me by the way).
Then we need to add to this natural level of mobility, the amount of years we’ve spent doing repetitive things (being sedentary, running, cycling, push ups, sit-ups etc).
We also need to consider the intensity of the exercise we’ve been doing.
And then we need to consider how much we’ve been trying to do to improve our mobility.
That’s pretty much the formula for where we’re currently at with our mobility levels.
Vague, isn’t it?
I’ve heard other professionals recommend a number of minutes of mobility for every hour of activity you’re doing – for example, Kelly Starrett recommends 15 mins mobility for every hour of exercise, but let’s not forget that he deals mainly with CrossFit athletes, who have high intensity, heavy load, repetitive training and are not likely to spend 6 hours training in one day.
Plus, the mobility that he’s recommending is the standard industry fare of foam rolling and stretching (although he’s moved onto voodoo bands of late) – which takes longer.
If your training is a 6 hour ride, it’s not likely that you’re going to want to spend 90 minutes more on your mobility – I mean who’s got time for that??
While I don’t agree on a specific ratio of time spent on mobility to time spent exercising, I do agree that having a rough time frame to go by, is more likely to get you started doing some, if you’re not already.
But the REAL answer – is do as much as you possibly can.
Start to look for opportunities throughout your day when you could get 5 minutes done – and do them.
Can you find 10 opportunities for 5 minutes? Or even 3 minutes?
Here’s just a few to get you started:
1. When you first get out of bed
2. Standing in the shower
3. Drying your hair (this is a particular favourite of mine)
4. Waiting for the kettle to boil
5. Standing in a queue
6. In your warm up for your training session
7. In your cool down for your training session
8. Waiting for food to cook
9. During a telephone conversation
10. Before you get into bed
Once you start looking, it’s not that difficult to spot these opportunities really.
The trick is then to do them so often that they just become habit.
And while those people with naturally stiffer bodies will be using these opportunities to reduce their stiffness, naturally more mobile people should be using these opportunities to MAINTAIN their levels of movement!
So, really, all it boils down to, is do as much as you can as often as you can.
Oh, and be consistent.
The most progress is made with mobility in your consistency.
Just like with any other training style, or dietary change, your results will take much longer (or not come at all) if you’re inconsistent with your efforts and you’re doing a load of repetitive exercise in the middle!
I mean, you wouldn’t lose much weight if you were only eating healthy meals once a week, and stuffing your face with chocolate bars and cakes for the rest of the time!
But, having said that, if eating one healthy meal is your way into making bigger changes later, then it’s a really great starting point – the trick is to build consistency on that one meal quickly, taking it from once a week to every day, then twice a day, then three times etc. And the same can be said for your mobility.
See, it really is about YOU and what feels right for you.
Some people are really great at going cold turkey. They can start a new regime overnight and stick to it, others need a more gentle approach.
However you feel best about getting more mobility into your day, the SMARTT® methods can really help.
Because I’ve rolled the entire movement improvement process into each and every movement, you can pick just ONE movement and do it for a few minutes, on each of the occasions mentioned above (and any others you can think of), to start getting really great results with your mobility!
And one of the best places to get started with your mobility is your spine.
Why not test my theories out with my FREE Spine Revitaliser Video Playlist?
Simply choose ONE of the videos to follow each day and find every opportunity you can in your day to get it done!
Oh, and don’t forget to comment below to let me know how you got on!