We all know someone who complains of back or joint pain, and this is often caused by our ever-increasing sedentary lifestyle. Continuously putting our body into a bad posture when watching tv, driving or sitting at our desk not only can cause long term health issues but also can have a big impact on our mental state. It is no secret that exercise in some form has a whole range of benefits physically and mentally. However, there can be some confusion around why having a focus on mobility and flexibility can be so advantageous.
What is the Difference Between Mobility and Flexibility?
Yes, there is a difference and there is often a lack of understanding between them. Mobility refers to the range of motion you have in the joints, muscle tissue and soft tissues. Whereas flexibility refers to the ability of your soft tissues to stretch.
Both can have a direct impact on the other. It is important to work on improving both for total stability and range of movement.
Key Benefits of Improving Mobility and Flexibility
There are many key benefits of improving your flexibility and mobility. Both effect every functional movement you perform throughout the day, can prevent wear on your joints, and allow you to life a more balanced lifestyle.
Here are six key benefits of improving your flexibility and mobility.
Reduced Chance of Injury
Whether you exercise regularly or not it is likely you will have some muscle imbalances which when put under additional strain can cause injury. Strengthening underactive muscles and stretching overactive (tight) muscles will allow you to improve muscle imbalances and in turn feel stronger and more stable.
Our posture often suffers as a result of our lifestyle, working on your flexibility and mobility will help improve your posture. You correct imbalances and create correct alignment throughout your body. This also can help for carrying out exercises safely and with correct form.
Stretching our body and slowing movement down is a great way to tune in to our mental state and become more mindful. Exercise practices such as Yoga and Pilates that are known for helping with mobility and flexibility also have strong connections to improved mental wellbeing. They do this by incorporating breathing and relaxation into movement. Over time your mindset can become stronger and more positive.
Improved mobility and flexibility will allow you to perform exercises with great range of motion and improved form. This allows your body to work harder in a safer manner. Your body will be able to support your movement better allowing you to become more physically fit.
Once you start focusing on your flexibility and mobility you will likely notice that you feel ‘looser’ and less tense. Aches and pains reduce as your body becomes more stable and mobile. Correct use of stretching and mobility exercises may help to reduce muscle cramp, pain and improve recovery time after intense exercise.
How to Improve Your Mobility and Flexibility
As mentioned, the most known about ways to improve your flexibility and mobility is through exercise. However, correct treatment and assisted therapies can also be beneficial in helping.
Yoga and Pilates both focus on flexibility and mobility alongside breath control and relaxation. Yoga has more emphasis on stretching whereas Pilates focuses more on mobility and conditioning. However, both are a good place to start if you haven’t focused on this area before. Exercises that work on mobility, strength, and stretching help you learn where your potential weaknesses are and develop an understanding of what a stable body feels like.
Alongside improving your physical wellbeing this type of exercise can be very beneficial for your mental wellbeing. Intense exercise is a stressor on the body. While it has a lot of benefits, if you are already stressed then you will just be adding to this. Yoga and Pilates are a slower more controlled form of exercise that focus on internal feeling and letting go of stress. There is a lot of opportunity to tune into what is causing us stress and release negative thoughts and feelings through gentle movement and breath work.
If you exercise regularly or have a pre-existing condition, then you may need some additional help with improving your mobility and flexibility. Treatments such as physiotherapy, myofascial release, cupping, percussive therapy, and deep tissue massage can all assist you safely in improving joint stability and range of motion.
It is important as with any form of exercise that you do so with caution especially if you have any pre-existing conditions. Speak with a doctor or specialist to plan out the best course of action for you.
If you are interested in learning more about the effects of improving your flexibility and mobility then we encourage you to listen to our podcast with Bobby Baum. Bobby is the mastermind behind Baum Therapy. He has a wealth of knowledge around sport massage and the effects of exercise on the body. We deep dive into the importance of mobility and flexibility and the best ways to go about improving them.
We also offer a range of services to help you improve your lifestyle. If you need some help and assistance, then be sure to book a complementary consultation. All our calls are confidential and simply a way to assess if we can help you. There is no pressure we just love to help people!