Mobility, use it or lose it!

The freedom of mobility

 

Mobility is a natural follow-on from flexibility as a critical element in fitness. Naturally linked, mobility and flexibility are often confused, but there are some distinct differences:

  • flexibility is the range of movement of a joint
  • mobility is defined as how freely your joints can move

This makes the connection clear; the more flexible you are the more freely you will be able to move, while the more freely you move, the more flexible you can become.

Mobility and flexibility are key to reducing the risk of unnecessary damage to joints and ligaments, problems that continually crop up amongst the running community. Unfortunately, I too often see neglect of the joints leading to knee and ankle injuries.

People assume that running is a simple movement and so do not take into consideration the relationship of all the joints and moving parts that constitute the process, not questioning whether each action is moving freely. A focus on increasing endurance while neglecting how efficiently a runner is moving is the source of far too many avoidable knee or ankle injuries. A conscious effort to look after and strengthen joints is the answer.

If you are a regular runner make sure all the joints used are not inhibited. If they are, spend time making sure you have normal range and that each of your joints is moving freely, in particular the ankle, knee and hips, by moving them in different directions. This simple check could save you from any unnecessary injuries and precious time off from improving your athletic performance.

Whatever athletic pursuit you wish to perform, make sure you can move freely first. If you are at all inhibited in any joint or movement necessary to complete the athletic pursuit, then you risk injury. Assess yourself honestly. With so many of us sitting behind a desk all day, we must spend time working on bringing back the full free movement of joints to radically decrease risk of injury, enabling us to then increase athletic performance over the longer term.

 

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          About the author

Alex is a registered Master Trainer and Nutritional Advisor with Level 4 qualifications in obesity and diabetes. He is also a strength specialist and a Ni Dan in Shotokan Karate.

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