Mobility is a term that is often heard in the fitness world, but what does it actually mean?
Mobility refers to the range of motion that a joint has. Basically, when you are able to move your joints through their full range of motion, you have good mobility. This is important for a few reasons: first, good mobility allows you to move with ease and without pain, this can be important even for simple things like getting out of a chair, walking up stairs or playing with your kids (or grandkids) at the park.
Secondly, maintaining mobility as you age can help reduce niggles, aches and pains in common areas such as the back, neck and knees, and greatly reduce your risks of accidental falls or injuries either in everyday life or in sport.
Thirdly, by maintaining mobility and our quality of movement it allows us to keep up with our exercise routine without any restrictions. Whilst exercise in and of itself, and particularly strength training (done properly with good form) is a great way to maintain and improve mobility, there are a whole host of other health benefits that come with exercise (heart health, cardio fitness, immune system, inflammation, overall health & well-being) that we are leaving on the table if we lose our mobility and our movement capabilities and therefore our ability to exercise with adequate intensity or frequency.
As we age, especially with our modern-day lifestyles which often require a lot of sitting, our joints, muscles and connective tissues tend to stiffen up and we lose some of our range of motion. This can vary from person to person of course. This reduction in mobility makes it harder for us to move, and complete even normal daily tasks, let alone keep up with outdoor recreational activities, and sporting endeavors. This is a natural part of the aging process of course, but it doesn’t mean that we have to accept it, there is a lot of it within our control and its largely a by-product of our lifestyle more than anything. I have personal training clients in there 60’s and 70’s who are the fittest and most mobile they have ever been in their adult lives as a result of a proper strength and exercise program.
Without the ability to go into too much detail here in a blog post, there are a few easily accessible things that we can do to maintain and improve our mobility. Strength training performed with good form along with focused mobility exercises are one of the best ways to do this. These kinds of regular inputs help to keep our joints and muscles healthy and can help to increase our range of motion throughout all the important segments in our body.
In addition to functional strength training, stretching can be a great way to improve your range of motion and flexibility. Foam rolling and various massage tools are another great way to improve mobility. These tools help to release tightness in the muscles and can help to improve range of motion around the accompanying joint as a result. Finally, getting regular massages from a good therapist can also help to improve your mobility by releasing muscle tension and improving blood circulation.
Lastly, an experienced personal trainer or strength coach can help you put it all together, by teaching you the right methods and exercises for you, in a personalised way, based on your current condition, whilst helping you to adjust and progress the program as your body changes and evolves. In addition, by incorporating some individualised lifestyle management and awareness, based on your work / home schedule and environments, you can make a big difference in your mobility and your function. This will also ensure you have a stable foundation to exercise and keep progressing and improving safely, with minimal risk of injury.
To put it nice and simply, by improving your mobility and movement quality, you can completely change how your body feels and looks and absolutely improve all aspects of your physicality no matter how old (or young) you may be.
The Fit Stop works predominantly with general population from 35-80+ years old who want to feel better, move better & look better, with a long term, sustainable and sensible approach to health & fitness. If this is YOU and you’d like to have a chat, just call Ben on 0433 961 462 or fill out the contact form here