Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Flexibility and Mobility

Improved flexibility and mobility can greatly benefit everyone from the 13 year old athlete to the 80 year old grandparent. Improving your flexibility and mobility is one of the easiest ways to feel better during normal everyday activities, keeping in mind that hopefully our everyday activities involve movement.

Let us look at flexibility vs mobility and how it can effect our lives.

I am fairly certain everyone knows what flexibility is. The first thing that comes to mind is the ability to touch your toes or not. While that is one of the oldest of old school ways to measure flexibility, it is still a measuring tool. However it is not the most practical in terms of how improved flexibility can improve our quality of life. That is because flexibility can be both static and dynamic.

Static flexibility is stretching with no movement. An example of this is reaching down and touching your toes for 30 seconds. Dynamic flexibility is stretching through movement. Examples of this can be walking lunges, walking knee hugs, straight leg marches, shoulder circles, etc. While both static and dynamic flexibility is important, it is my opinion that dynamic flexibility plays a much more important role in improving our everyday movement quality.

How is flexibility different from mobility? In terms of dynamic flexibility vs mobility, there really is not too much difference. Mobility is our ability to move. As previously stated, dynamic flexibility is stretching through movement. You can probably say that mobility is a bit more active than dynamic flexibility, but the relationship really is quite parallel.

Let's look at some normal everyday activities and the possible flexibility and mobility limitations that may hinder them.

Getting in and our of a car. Sounds simple. Sadly, if you sit outside a busy store and watch people get in and our of their cars all day, you will be amazed at the level of physical exertion it takes people to perform this task. The ability to rotate their hips while stepping with one leg and pushing with the other should not be tremendously difficult.

Putting on a pair of socks or shoes. I have seen guys in the locker room try to put on socks and look like their heads were going to explode. This is caused by an inability to externally rotate the hips.

This last one has really opened my eyes recently since I have very active two and five year old boys. Try playing with kids out in the yard. Mine go non stop. Keeping up with them can be a chore and my mobility is pretty good. They are constantly moving and changing direction. Playing ball or tag are favorites of theirs. The ability to move is needed for both of these games. Poor mobility will not only make these tasks difficult, it could also lead to an increased chance of injury.

So what is the moral of my story? Get better at moving. Moving well will improve your basic quality of life.

For tips on improving your flexibility and mobility leave a comment or contact me via email. As always, I encourage feedback with comments, questions, and concerns.

Improve You,


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