Often mobility can be confused with flexibility (we’ll cover that next week) so what are the differences?
Flexibility is passive, so pulling your heel into the glutes with your hand.
Mobility is active (or dynamic), moving into a position without an external force, so pulling your heel into your glutes without using your hand.
Mobility is mentioned in so many aspects of life, we are all told it’s important to keep mobile or to include mobility work into our training etc.
What does this mean in actual real life then?
If we were measuring, we would look at how far a joint could move at the point of 2 bones meeting before being restricted by the surrounding muscles, ligaments and tendons. This is referred to as the joints’ articulation.
We require mobility to go about day-to-day tasks, walking upstairs, getting in and out of the car and so on.
As our mobility decreases these tasks get harder, this is due to the muscles and supporting ligaments and tendons not working through their full range of motion, which in turn can lead to shortening and then this cycle continues.
We see this more and more in recent times, sitting at our desk our hip flexors are shortening, our shoulders round creating a ‘hunched’ look.
As always, I need one to pick one, so let’s take hip flexors.
Obvious one out of the way, this will affect locomotion, so walking, running, squatting and lunging.
How about increased risk of lower back pain, knee and foot pain? This is due to the change in postural position which leads to changes in the loading surrounding areas and the levers that are attached – unfortunately so, we’ll head off from the doom and gloom now!
On to the bright sunny area, the great thing about our bodies is their ability to get back to where they were, and beyond in many cases.
Simple daily movements and stretching can assist in our mobility and remove many (if not all) of the restrictions we feel, given enough time. The addition of resistance training can then strengthen these muscles further.
Undertaking these short and frequent movements help to keep as much mobility as possible, and for a cross-over appearance we’ll bring back flexibility with its sidekick stretching to help out here.
Whilst mobility and flexibility are different, they aren’t mutually exclusive, we need mobility to be flexible and increasing our flexibility will help our overall range of movement.
We can use a static stretch to work the flexibility of the hip to counter the reduction in movement.
In a lunge position on the floor with the rear knee on the floor and our torso upright, gently press the front knee forwards, this will help stretch the hip flexor, we can increase this by tensing the glute on the rear leg. 20-30 seconds either side will do the trick.
Need some help with mobility? Be sure to ask a member of Team SF – email@example.com