When I was 14 years old I had the opportunity to travel with my dad on a men’s golf retreat held at our church’s summer youth camp. I thought that I was something special going on a two day trip with a bunch of grown adults to play golf. I learned many lessons on this trip, one of which still resonates with me today; how to stay limber and mobile into your mid 80s. 

Our morning began at 4:15am, followed by a full breakfast at 5am, with a tee time at 6:30am. As a teenager, I was not excited about the wake up time. I took every last minute I could before I got out of bed. As I slowly opened my eyes to see the dark cabin filled with bunk beds and sleeping old men, I saw a scary sight. A man in his mid 80s in his whitey tighties and undershirt already up and out of bed doing his morning mobility routine. With reckless abandon, this WWII veteran performed his toe touches, push-ups, sit-ups, and squats for probably the 7,000th time. Later, he told me that he had been doing that same routine since being in the Navy in the war. He told me that he never missed a day.  Mr. Lovelace went on that day to play a decent round of golf. Although his skill was not that of the other men, his endurance while being twenty years older than anyone else in the group was remarkable.

What was his secret? Well, it is simple, consistency is the key. The exercises that he used were not that special, I might even suggest a few substitutions. It was simply that he consistently made it a point to systematically move everyday. Taking Mr. Lovelace’s lead, I want to impart a simple morning mobility routine that focuses on improving range of motion, maintaining good balance skills, and targets core activation. Perform this routine everyday for the next 30-40 years and perhaps you will make an impression on a young budding chiropractic practitioner to be. You can find the entire routine on our YouTube channel or follow this link.

1. Cat/Camel

The Cat/camel exercise is a spine mobilizing exercise. Place your hands and knees on the ground. Slowly round your low back while dropping your head to the ground. When the spine is fully flexed reverse the position and drop the spine into extension while raising the head up. Focus on smooth movement of the spine. Repeat this oscillation 15-20 times. Look for further instructions on this exercise from our video here.

2. Hip Hinge

While starting on all fours sit back onto your heels, leaving your hands in the same starting position on the floor. Breathe deep into your pelvis amplifying the stretch you feel in your shoulders. Oscillate back to the all fours position, repeat 10 times. Alter the exercise by kneeling on both knees with your arms extended straight out and thumbs up, hinge through the hips to sit back on your ankles. Keep good abdominal pressure throughout the movement. Repeat this oscillation 10 times. Look for a video of this exercise on our YouTube Channel or click here.

3. High Oblique Sit

Start by kneeling on one knee with the other foot flat on the floor in front of you. The hip and knee should be at 90 degrees and slightly open. Keep your hands out in front with your thumbs up. Now sit back through the hip toward the side of the knee that is on the floor. Return to the high kneeling position while maintaining good abdominal pressure deep into the pelvis. You should feel good activation of the muscles in the quad and hip of the leg that has the knee on the floor. Repeat this 15 times per side. You can find this video on our YouTube page here.

4. Tripod Thoracic Spine Rotation

Begin in a tripod position with one knee on the floor and the other foot and both hands on the floor in front of you. Begin the exercise by raising the hand off the ground that is on the same side of the knee which is on the floor. Rotate through the thoracic spine fully allowing for good shoulder turn while the arm moves towards the ceiling. Slowly return the arm towards the floor and reach through the arm and leg which are on the floor in front of you. Repeat this thoracic spine rotation 10 times before switching leg position and repeating it with the other arm. Maintain good abdominal pressure throughout and concentrate on the movement coming the mid and upper back versus rotation from the lumbar spine. You can find this video on our YouTube page or click here.

5. Bear Thoracic Spine Rotation

This is similar to the previous exercise, except we begin in the bear position (two hands on the floor in front with both knees bent and feet on the floor). Begin the exercise by raising one hand off the ground and rotating the thoracic spine to bring the hand up toward the ceiling. Return the hand toward the ground, rotating the spine to the other side while reaching across the midline of the body. Remember to keep abdominal pressure deep into the pelvis while breathing. Avoid excessive rotation of the hips to keep the rotation motion contained to the thoracic spine. Repeat for 7-15 repetitions before switching hands. You can find this video on our YouTube page here.

6. 3 Month Supine

In the 3 month supine position (on your back, hips and knees both flexed to 90 degrees, without the legs touching each other, and hands straight up to the sky), begin by extending one leg slowly toward but not touching the floor. Alternate moving the legs for several repetitions. Next, perform a similar movement with one arm only, reaching overhead but never touching the floor. Repeat for several alternating repetitions with each arm. Continue to advance the exercise by moving a leg and the opposite arm at the same time. Alternate arms and legs with each repetition. Remember the point of this exercise is to maintain abdominal pressure deep into the pelvis. Do not let the lumbar spine arch, maintaining a flat back on the floor at all times. Only advance the exercise if you are able to maintain proper position and abdominal pressure. Repeat each variation of the exercise 7-15 times. You can find this video on our YouTube page here.

You can find all of the videos of these exercises and more on our YouTube channel. Simply search for Core Roanoke and click subscribe for updates on more videos to come.

Daryl C. Rich, D.C., C.S.C.S.