You may have heard of the term ‘mobility’, but what is it and can it be more beneficial than stretching?
Flexibility is the ability your muscles have to lengthen. The more flexible you are, the longer your muscles can lengthen. Flexibility is important as without it we cannot get into the correct positions. However, when we have pain many of us turn to stretching for relief and a cure. You may have heard “I have a bad back because of my tight hamstrings”. Most of the time stretching is not what is needed. Stretching can relieve pain by stimulating the muscle spindles (little nerves within our muscles). These nerves can shut down the perception of pain and can give us some short-term relief. This relief can sometimes blind sight us into thinking the stretching is fixing the problem.
Mobility is your ability to control your movement through a range of motion. An easy way of visualising this is to remember that flexibility is passive, and mobility is active. Mobility is a tool I use more often with my clients as it allows them not only to get into proper position (loading the appropriate structures) but also to give them control over movement. This also builds confidence, so as a bonus it gives you a psychological benefit as well. Mobility is a mixture of strength, flexibility, and control of movement. Once we can move well with body weight we can then move to loaded movement.
I see mobility as a lifelong commitment if you maintain proper movement and function you can be healthier and pain free for longer! Who would not want that?!
Above is a great movement you can start using to increase or maintain your mobility. If you struggle with these positions, feel free to get in touch and I can help.