Keeping your joints mobile has all sorts of benefits, not just for your athletic performance, but also your general health. Here we’ll take a look at the importance of mobility and what you can do to improve it.
What is mobility?
Mobility is the ability to move freely, without being inhibited by stiffness or stress. If you’ve ever struggled to touch your toes or felt too stiff to exercise, working on your mobility will help you achieve a better range of movements.
Mobility is linked with joint health, because in order to be fully mobile, your joints must be flexible, stable and strong enough to allow a full range of motion. Flexibility, stability and strength can be built up by looking after your body and performing regular stretches and exercises.
Flexibility and stability
Flexible joints are essential for mobility. Flexibility can be defined as the ability of the joints to move through their full range of motion. But flexibility on its own is not enough for mobility; in order to achieve good mobility and perform the movements you need to, you must also have good balance and strength.
Stability is about having control over your movements, and is the other main ingredient of mobility. It is essential for holding a particular position and resisting unwanted movements. Stability can be improved by strengthening the muscles that surround the joints.
The benefits of mobility: why is it important?
The importance of mobility cannot be understated. Good mobility can make a big difference to all areas of your life, whether you are a high-performance athlete or an office worker.
- Posture will improve with mobility training. That’s because your body will be better able to position itself correctly, reducing stress on the spine.
- Sports injuries and common niggles such as knee pain are less likely to occur when your posture is good.
- General aches and pains can also be alleviated with good mobility.
For athletes and sports professionals at the top of their game, taking the time to work on their mobility has obvious benefits. But the importance of mobility for less active individuals is also paramount.
How to improve your mobility
If you have a regular gym or training routine, including some mobility exercises into your warm-up session is easy, and you’ll soon see the benefits. If you don’t currently have a training schedule but would like to improve your fitness, mobility exercises are a great place to start.
- Yoga is a really accessible and gentle way to improve your mobility by working on your flexibility and strength. Sign up for a class or do it yourself in the comfort of your home.
- Pilates helps mobility by training your body to move correctly.
- Mobility drills. These are warm-up exercises that help prepare your joints for a workout. Remember that when performing mobility drills, there’s no need to hold your position; the emphasis is on movement. Consult a personal trainer or physiotherapist to discover which mobility exercises are best suited to you.
- Listen to your body. If you feel any pain as you exercise, that’s a sign that there is an area you need to work on. Always listen to your body and stop if the pain is excessive.