Mobility Is a Major Player in Quality of Life
We are in the midst of a fitness age—everybody is working out and it’s fantastic. As we busy ourselves in the pursuit of strength and fitness, everywhere from state of the art facilities to the local gym in the butcher shop basement is seeing an upturn in fortunes.
While we are eagle-eye focused on getting bigger, faster, and stronger, we must not forget one essential element of our continuing life and fitness journey: mobility. This is a really important factor in achieving the most we can from every workout and also staying injury-free.
4 Big Reasons to Improve Your Mobility
Reduce Injury Risk
Tension and stiffness in the muscles is one of the foremost causes of injury. This is especially true of knee injuries and other issues with our joints. Our tight muscles cause a severely restricted range of motion. This becomes a big problem, especially if we play sports.
The intense strain placed on the muscles during exercise or sudden contact during sports can lead to many muscle strains or more severe injuries.
These types of injuries would likely be avoided if we focused more time on increasing mobility since our muscles would be looser, less tense, and generally withstand a higher degree of pressure. Much like your favorite pair of jeans after washing, cold muscles will be stiff and rigid at first; lacking flexibility and comfort. Stretch them out, though, and they become flexible and ready for anything.
Reducing your injury risk can even begin at home. Yoga is an excellent way to both increase mobility and relive stress at the same time—a wonderful combination in today’s hectic society.
In terms of sport, especially professional sport. Range of motion and mobility are key factors which will impact your performance and career as a whole. The ability to make that awkward leaping catch in traffic or the fast pivot creating space for a jump shot can make all the difference in the career of an upcoming young prospect.
These things can only be achieved with great mobility. This requires attention to detail and a thorough stretching routine both prior to and after a workout.
Don’t think you are immune to this advice even though you are not a professional athlete. Performance can easily relate to how you complete your daily routine at work or home. With extra focus on mobility training, the pain of those early morning wake-ups may be eased just a little—physically, if not mentally.
Improving mobility should focus on the whole body as opposed to just one or two areas. The key areas to concentrate on are complex and frequently used joints, like:
- Knee joint
- Shoulder joint
- Hip joint
- Ankle joint
- Quad (thigh) muscles
These would broadly cover the areas which would benefit most from increased mobility, especially for performance purpose.
Become More Flexible
While flexibility and mobility are not the same thing, they are not completely independent of each other. Improving your mobility will certainly increase your flexibility and vice versa. There are many mobility-enhancing exercises you can perform which will greatly increase your range of motion and also improve your flexibility at the same time.
Sitting with your feet together, legs apart with the knees pointing to opposite sides, the butterfly stretch is quite similar to the traditional sitting posture associated with many Asian cultures.
Holding your feet together, move your knees toward the ground before raising and repeating the process for a full stretch. This is one you will definitely feel on you inner thighs/groin, and can take some practice.
Assume the position by kneeling on your back knee with your toes down and your other foot flat on the floor in front of you, again with the knee bent and aligned with your ankle.
Position your hands on the hips of your front leg and apply forward pressure. You should feel stretching in the thigh of your back leg. When you have reached full stretch, raise your arms straight above your head and hold the position for 30 seconds before resetting and repeating.
Both of these simple stretching routines can be done almost anywhere and greatly improve your mobility and flexibility over time. Ensure that you take things as slowly as you need to. It does not need to be perfect on the first attempt.
Feel Better Everyday
As we get older, like it or not, our bodies get stiffer and everything requires just that little bit more effort. Improving our mobility may not stop the aging process. It will certainly go a long way to slowing it down, though, and make our advancing years infinitely more comfortable and mobile.
At a young age, we may be carefree in regard to our bodies and how we treat them. This is extremely common and a symptom of society in general. We are shortsighted when it comes to planning for the future.
All too easily our freedom of movement can slip away without us even realizing.
This is another reason why we should maintain a conscious and brisk daily stretching routine. The improvement may seem minimal or even non-existent to us, much as looking in the mirror each and every day makes noting gradual change difficult. However, time will reward us handsomely for our efforts.
Mobility is something which may be difficult to measure for many. Quite like a sense of hearing or smell, it is something that you may only truly appreciate when it is improved. Luckily for us, there are so many ways in which we can easily improve our mobility.
Following these easy steps is all about making a start. As we can see, there are a variety of benefits which can greatly improve our lives, waiting just around the corner. Making the first step is always the most difficult—but in this case, the extra stretch holds too many advantages to pass up.
- Why You Should Spend More Time Working on Mobility - November 14, 2017