If you have time for only one mobility exercise, then make it this one, says physiotherapist Jenny Blizard

As a physiotherapist, I am always stressing to athletes that is hugely important to keep the thoracic spine (the upper part of your back that attaches to your ribs) mobile.

There are several reasons for this:

1. If your trunk doesn’t rotate symmetrically, then neither will your arms and legs. Your risk of injury rises as a result.

2. If your thoracic spine is stiff, your breathing efficiency will be reduced

3. Since your thoracic spine houses your autonomic system – that’s the regulatory part of the nervous system – blood flow will be reduced if it is stiffened from sitting down all day. This can increase the risk of a whole host of problems ranging from stiff knees and hips to excess sweating.

Exercise

The move itself is simple. Place a foam roller underneath your scapula (shoulder blades), supporting your neck with your hands.

Lift your bottom off the floor and use your feet to stabilise.

Then, move your knees through flexion and extension, rolling up and down the foam roller from the top of your neck to the bottom of your rib cage.

Repeat 10 times, twice daily.