Master Mobility With Nike Run Coach And Marathoner Lydia O’Donnell - Women's Health

Master Mobility With Nike Run Coach And Marathoner Lydia O’Donnell

Take notes.

by | Sep 27, 2021

The fitness industry loves a buzzword and in recent years there’s been no shortage. From wearable tech and sleep tracking to cryotherapy, hot yoga and everything else in between, for some these trends have been so life-affirming, they’ve remodelled their entire lifestyle around them. But when it comes to athletic performance and training, there are certain training principles that never go out of style. While we tend to focus on cardiovascular endurance or strength training, and fret about waning flexibility, mobility tends to fly somewhat under the radar. For serious athletes, particularly runners, the importance of mobility sessions can’t be overstated. 

For the uninitiated, mobility varies greatly from flexibility. The key difference lies in the fact that mobility is the active moment, whereas flexibility is a passive range of motion available to someone when you typically stretch muscles using an external force. You might be able to touch your toes and lift your legs high in a stretch, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you have good mobility, which is often impacted by things like strength, coordination and soft tissue work. 

Ok, so why the focus on mobility? Mobility helps your body move with efficiency and ease. A wider range of motion with muscle that can active in multiple positions not only translates to greater power in an exercise like running where you push off the ground, but it even facilitates better knee drive for speed and can greatly reduce the risk of injury as a result. Now more than ever, mobility is an important aspect of training and one we should be paying attention to. With so many of us working from home at some makeshift desk we’ve fashioned out of a dining room table or stack of books, we’re sitting for greater parts of the day. Feeling the need to be constantly “visible” online for colleagues means we’re not getting as much incidental exercise in as we would normally, and our bodies become used to this position which can lead to greater problems when we want to move. 

These extended periods of inactivity can cause muscles to tighten, leading to issues like tight hip flexors, back pain and other musculoskeletal problems. It’s not good enough to simply stretch the muscles after sitting all day, you also want to work them through a full range of motion. Someone who knows this all too well is Lydia O’Donnell, Nike Run Coach and marathoner who uses her platform as a an athlete and avid runner to inspire others to get up and move – regardless of the intensity, distance or effort. Lydia’s mission is a simple one: she wants us all to feel good in our bodies, and to move better. 

Given that so many of us are still trapped in a lockdown that means we can’t access a gym, staying motivated to train can be difficult and even more challenging is knowing just what to do when it comes to exercise when you don’t have a trainer or group gym class at your disposal. Thankfully, Lydia shares with us a 12-minute mobility session that you can do anywhere, anytime. As she explains, “I personally am training for the Nike Melbourne Marathon Festival and I know a lot of people are struggling with motivation at the moment, so no matter what form of exercise you’re doing at the moment – whether you’re walking or running – you should just be proud of yourself for continuing to move and improve.”

The mobility session is based off “Sunset Stretch” from the Nike Training Club app, which features countless workouts that are guaranteed to suit your training needs. With over 185 different workouts in the app, including strength training and endurance training, through to mobility and stretching. This mobility sessions is all about keeping the legs fresh and creating some space in the body. At the end of the day, your body (and mind) will thank you. Check out the workout below. 

By Jessica Campbell

Jess is a storyteller committed to sharing the human stories that lie at the heart of sport.

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8 Of The Best Exercise Shorts That Will Power You Through A Summer Of Movement

It’s official: Shorts Season is officially here. While lockdown has seen many of us realise that activewear is less something to be worn for a workout and more a uniform we choose to do any and all daily activities in, when the warmer temperatures roll around, that favourite pair of sweatpants and leggings sometimes don’t cut it. Sure, they might be a staple in any wardrobe, but the Aussie sun doesn’t listen to reason, no matter how comfortable or cute it might be. And when it comes to summer, working out in leggings can feel like being trapped in a sauna, the sweat pooling at your ankles and around the waistband – as well as those other areas we won’t mention here. 

But as we transition from leggings to shorts, it becomes clear pretty quickly that not all shorts are created equal, and certainly not all shorts are fit for a workout. Take it from us at Women’s Health HQ, we’ve been there, tried it and lived to see the consequences. From the shorts that look cute but ride up to show your undies on the run, to those that feel like being strapped into a harness that’s digging into your hip bones. Then there are the fabrics that can cause chafing – a big no – and those that basically shine a spotlight on any area you might be sweating. 

Thankfully, a number of brands are here to cater to your exercise needs with innovative materials, fabrics and sustainable options to see you through a summer of movement. Regardless of your workout preferences or daily activity, we’ve selected the best shorts that will ensure you feel good in your body, shorts that get you excited to embrace the day and attack it with energy, that make you want to get outside and enjoy the outdoors, whether it be walking, running, or socialising in the park. Here are our pick of the best bike shorts below. 

Nagnata

Uptown Biker, $240

What says summer more than a pop of orange and the sleek shape of these Nagnata biker shorts? With its mid-length and horizontal raised rib side detail, these are shorts you can wear both for a workout and out to meet the girls. Made in Australia with a technical knit fabrication, the double-layer jacquard provides gentle sculpting qualities for the body, making it an excellent choice for light to moderate fitness activities like yoga, pilates or barre. 

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New Balance

Q Speed Fuel Short, $70

We love the colour of these shorts from New Balance which are cut with a sleek, speedy look that also helps to elongate the legs. Featuring NB DRY moisture wicking fabric, these are the shorts you want for high intensity exercise or long runs, keeping you comfortable and dry. There’s also an interior brief for added comfort and a stash pocket to keep your essentials. 

All Access

Ultra High Rise Zip Front Biker Short, $78

Yes, the colour is amazing but the fit is equally sensational on these All Access shorts. For those who love a high-rise fit and wide waistband that holds you in at the waist, look no further. The sleek, shiny look offers mid-compression and the fabric is moisture-wicking, so you can stay comfortable even during your sweatiest workouts. 

Nike

Nike x Naomi Osaka Utility Short, $90

Few things are worse than heading out the door for a run and realising your shorts offer no pockets for those essentials you need. You’re left to hold your iPhone, keys, and anything else you might need in your sweaty palm. Thankfully, Naomi Osaka knows what we need when it comes to exercise shorts and these utility shorts from her collaboration with Nike offer all that and more with a relaxed fit and elastic waistband. 

Tracksmith

Session short Tights, $72

When it comes to bike shorts, you want to feel supported and held in but you also want to be able to breathe. These Tracksmith session short tights are exceptional in offering support while still ensuring comfort remains a priority. Forget about chafing, these shorts won’t ride up and down and the fabric offers more coverage and support against the body. 

Outdoor Voices

Relay 3” Short, $48

Who said summer shorts have to be boring? Outdoor Voices brings fashion-forward style and playfulness to their collections with fun prints and exciting colours. We love the relay 3” shorts for their ultralight, quick-drying fabric that also happens to be made from recycled polyester. But more importantly, we love the print and Poppy Swirl is as good as it gets. There’s even a hidden pocket for your valuables, too. 

Lululemon

Align High-Rise Short 6”, $69

If you’re familiar with the buttery-soft feel of Lululemon’s tights, you’ll want to get your hands on a pair of their shorts, too. Made with the same Nulu fabric that their tights are known for, these shorts feel weightless and super soft. They might be our go-to staple for any workout, but the feel is so second-skin that it’s hard to not wear them for every other activity, too. 

Spiritual Gangster

Seamless Biker Short, $112

These biker shorts from Spiritual Gangster move with you, thanks to a three-tiered compressive waistband that offers a flattering high waist that hugs you in all the right places, without proving constrictive. They offer medium compression but are built for all day comfort, and the colour is a true summer staple because, let’s face it, who doesn’t love tie-dye?