Let’s assume that on average, we spend approximately 7 hours a day sitting down: 5 hours sitting in front of the office desk, an additional 1 hour commuting, and another 1 hour watching Netflix after work.
This adds up to over 100 days spent sitting down, in a given year. And this is a big problem.
Some research compares ‘sitting as the new smoking‘ (see our latest article here).
Eventually, this hunched over position leads to tightness, inflexibility, and poor posture. You’ll start to feel hip pain, back pain, ankle pain, tightness in the body, and more.
So whether you’re an exercise newbie, regular gym goer or CrossFit superstar, mobility training is an essential component of any quality fitness program. You need something to open up your body, pull you into proper alignment, and help you stand up straight!
What is mobility exactly?
Good mobility means that you can move your limbs with a full range of motion, without restriction. That is, with control and coordination, making it an active movement, rather than passive.
Try drawing a big circles slowly with each arms from the shoulder joint – how far can you reach forward, how far can you extend backward, how high can you reach, do you feel any restrictions in this movement, do you feel any other parts of the body trying to help you with this movement, do you feel freer moving one arm than the other?
Why is mobility important?
Today, moving more to perform daily tasks is viewed as an inconvenience. Modern technology means we have access to devices serving the sole purpose of making our lives easier. These conveniences however, come with a major downside.
Humans, as we are – are built to move.
A lack of movement means much of this soft tissue will have formed itself into knots, otherwise known as restricted muscle.
Thus, mobility training ultimately assist –
- Release tension in the body
- Correct muscle imbalances caused by muscle tightness
- Decrease pain in joints by releasing muscle knots in the muscles attached to joints
- Reduce the risk of injury
Mobility training can help to alleviate your everyday aches and pains, such as lower back pain or knee pain, improve your body awareness, and help to make your training more effective.
You don’t have to be in pain to work on your mobility; it’s important at any age to stay mobile and supple in our everyday activities.
What is the difference between MOBILITY and FLEXIBILITY?
The two terms seem to be used interchangeably, but they actually mean different things.
Flexibility refers to the ability to stretch your muscles.
Mobility refers to elements that contribute to movement including joints, the joint capsules, muscle tissue, motor control, AND soft tissue. Good mobility means you have a full range of motion in all the movments that happen at each joint.
Flexibility is very much a part of mobility. Both contributing to the component of being mobile.
Good mobility differs from flexibility or stretching, as they are typically passive and depends on holding a certain position or relying on gravity to elongate muscles, ligaments and tendons.