30-Minute Stretch and Mobility Follow-Along Workout

By the Editors of SilverSneakers |

Loosen up muscles, joints, and other connective tissues for less pain and better movement.

Few things limit movement like a stiff back, tight shoulders, creaky hips, or even cramped feet. The good news is a little movement now can help you stay more flexible and mobile in the years to come.

This 30-minute stretch and mobility follow-along workout will guide you through exercises to loosen up muscles, joints, and other connective tissues for less pain and better movement. It also emphasizes checking in on how you feel.

“Where there’s pain, it’s a no-go,” says SilverSneakers fitness expert David Jack. Use a smaller range of motion, or simply skip the move.

If any movements reveal pain or an imbalance between your right and left sides, that’s great information to discuss with your doctor. You might be able to catch a problem in the early stages and prevent it from getting worse.

How the 30-Minute Stretch and Mobility Follow-Along Workout Works

You’ll need a soft stress ball or tennis ball, a mat, a towel, some open floor space, and water if you want it. If you’d like support during exercises, feel free to use a wall, chair, or counter.

The best way to do this workout is to press play and follow along with the video. You can also see exercise pointers below. As you move, check on your posture and breathing. Shoulders should be relaxed and away from ears, and you should be sitting up tall—not hunched forward. Breathe as deeply as you can through movements—don’t hold your breath.

As always, safety is key. The exercises here may be different or more advanced than those you’ll experience in a SilverSneakers class. If you have a chronic condition, an injury, or balance issues, talk to your doctor about how you can exercise safely.

If floor movements are challenging for you, try this chair stretching routine or this yoga flow for older adults.

1. Foot Rolls

Place a soft stress ball or tennis ball on the floor. With your right foot, put the arch of your foot on top of the ball. Gently roll your foot over the ball from heel to toes. Gradually increase your speed and pressure. If you find a tight spot, spend a little more time there to loosen it up.

2. Cross-Fiber Rolls

Move the ball up so it’s just below the pads of your toes, and roll your foot from side to side.

Then move the ball back so it’s just in front of your heel, and roll your foot from side to side.

3. Toe Wiggle

Lift your foot off the ball, and place your heel on the floor for balance. Wiggle your toes in every direction. If you want, you can sit down or use your hands to move your toes.

4. Foot Stretch

Gently place the tops of your toes on the floor behind you, allowing them to bend so you feel a stretch in the front of your foot.

Then gently place the bottoms of your toes on the floor behind you, pushing down lightly so you feel a stretch in the bottom of your foot.

5. In-and-Out Toes

Pull your toes in as if closing your foot, and stretch your toes out as if opening your foot.

Repeat Exercises 1 to 5

Switch to your left foot, and repeat:

  • Foot rolls
  • Cross-fiber rolls
  • Toe wiggle
  • Foot stretch
  • In-and-out toes
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6. Calf Rolls

Carefully lower yourself to the floor until you’re seated with your legs out in front of you. Place the ball under the meaty part of your right calf. Gently roll forward and back, side to side, and around the area to loosen up your calf muscle. For more pressure, you can place your left foot on top of your right. If you find a tight spot, spend a little more time there to loosen it up.

7. Flex and Extend

Holding the ball under your right calf—on a tight spot if you found one—flex your foot by pulling your toes back and then extend by pointing your toes forward. As you alternate between flexing and extending, you’ll feel your tissues moving over the ball without actually rolling it.

8. Calf Stretch

Hold the ends of your towel, and place your right foot in the middle of it. Gently pull the towel with your left hand, letting your foot rotate inward slightly so you feel a stretch along the outside of your right calf.

Then gently pull the towel with your right hand, letting your foot rotate outward slightly so you feel a stretch on the insides of your calves.

You likely won’t get a big range of motion with your feet, and that’s okay. You shouldn’t feel pain in your ankles.

9. Foot Circles

Keeping your right foot centered in the towel, gently make a circle with your ankle. Do a few circles in one direction, and then reverse for a few circles.

10. Dorsiflexion

Keeping your right foot centered in the towel, flex your foot. Think about reaching your toes back toward your shin, and gently pull on the towel to feel a stretch in your shin and calf.

Repeat Exercises 6 to 10

Switch to your left foot, and repeat:

  • Calf rolls
  • Flex and extend
  • Calf stretch
  • Foot circles
  • Dorsiflexion

11. Seated Side-to-Side Rock

Place your arms behind you and prop yourself on your hands. Bend both knees, and make sure your arms are in a place where you can comfortably shift your knees from side to side—not too far back or too far forward.

Keeping both knees bent, allow your legs to gently fall to the right. Return to center, and allow your legs to fall to the left.

12. 90/90 Hip Stretch

Position yourself almost at 90/90, meaning both legs are bent with one in front and one behind you. To make it easier, try this position on a softer surface like a bed. If you have bad hips or knees, skip this stretch and the next two stretches.

Once you’re in a comfortable position, walk both hands to the left, crossing over your front leg and allowing your torso to gently rotate. Only rotate until you feel a little resistance—not pain! If you can, look a little farther to the left, allowing your shoulders to rotate as you do. Breathe deeply here.

13. 90/90 Hip Opener

For a challenge, from your 90/90 position, bend your left elbow so you’re propped up on your left forearm. Lean into your arm as you push your right hip slightly forward. Think about making a fist with your right glute.

You should feel a stretch in the front of your top hip as you gently rotate and look over your left shoulder. Make sure to keep breathing.

If you can’t get into this position without pain, skip it. You can stay in the 90/90 hip stretch.

14. 90/90 Reach on Elbow

For a challenge, from your 90/90 position on your left elbow, reach your right arm up toward the ceiling. Look up toward your fingers as you reach, and then release your arm back down.

If you can’t get into this position without pain, skip it. You can stay in the 90/90 hip stretch.

Repeat Exercises 11 to 14

Push yourself back up to a seated position with your arms behind you and knees bent. Switch sides, and repeat:

  • Seated side-to-side rock
  • 90/90 hip stretch
  • 90/90 hip opener
  • 90/90 reach on elbow

15. Sphinx Pose

Lie on your stomach with legs straight, and prop yourself up on your forearms. To make it easier, walk your hands out so you’re not up as high.

Gently look up and raise your head and neck to feel a stretch in the front side of your body. Pause, then release your chin to your chest.

In this position, take a deep breath in through your nose. On the exhale, push your belly button toward the floor. Continue to breathe deeply. If at any point this stretch feels uncomfortable, simply come out of the stretch.

16. Sphinx with Head Rotations

In your sphinx position, look to your right and left, letting your head rotate gently with your gaze. You’ll feel a little stretch in your sides.

17. Cat-Cow Stretch

Start on all fours with your hands below shoulders and knees below hips. You can put a towel underneath your knees for comfort. Slowly round your back up toward the ceiling (like a cat) while tucking your chin toward your tailbone. Then reverse the movement by arching your back (think about a cow) while lifting your hips and head. If you have osteoporosis, skip this stretch.

18. Quadruped Hover

From all fours, lift both knees a few inches off the floor. Press your hands and toes into the floor, and brace your core. Release, bringing your knees down to the floor.

19. Supported Hip Hinge

Slowly and carefully stand up from the floor. With feet hip-width apart and knees slightly bent, push your hips backs and hinge forward at the hips. Place your hands just above your knees for support.

Keeping your hands above your knees, straighten your legs as much as possible and shift your weight into your heels. You should feel a stretch in your hamstrings. Keep your back flat and your head in line with your spine the entire time.

Bend your knees to reset and stretch again.

20. Side Step and Rotate

Stand tall in an athletic stance. Step out with one foot, and reach both arms across your body to the opposite side, letting your torso rotate gently. Step back in, and bring your arms back to center.

21. Split Stance Reach

Stand in a staggered stance with your left foot in front of your right. Stand near a wall for balance if needed. Reach both arms up and grab your right wrist with your left hand. As you reach, twist your torso to the right.

Think about elongating your entire right side, using your left hand to help pull up and create space between your ribs. Breathe deeply as you reach into the stretch.

Switch sides so that your right foot is in front and repeat, this time grabbing onto your left wrist with your right hand.

22. Side Reach

Stand in a staggered stance with your left foot in front of your right. Place your left hand on your left hip, and reach your right arm overhead and to the left, bending at your waist as you do. You’ll feel the stretch along the right side of your body. Switch sides and repeat.

23. Shakeout

Shake your arms and legs, allowing them to move freely. Take small steps side to side as you shake if you want. Feel the tension leaving your body.

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