Mobility vs. Flexibility: Wait… there’s a difference?
We’ve all heard the buzzwords “mobility” and “flexibility” but let’s think about these two words and make sure we fully understand what they each mean. We all too often use them interchangeably when, in fact, mobility and flexibility are different! Related! But, different…
Flexibility refers to a particular muscle’s ability to lengthen or stretch. Mobility, a broader term, encompasses the ability of the joint to move through its range of motion. In order to have good joint mobility, it is crucial that we have sufficient flexibility. They’re like peas and carrots, if you will.
I like to utilize the 4 S’s to make sure I’m working to improve both of the above:
Self Myofascial Release (foam rolling)
Fascia is connective tissue that supports our muscles, bones, nerves, and even organs! Many studies have indicated regular foam rolling can help promote mobility as it works to alleviate tension or pain in the fascia.
Light stretching after bouts of exercise may help your body restore flexibility AND increase/improve range of motion.
As we work to improve our ROM, it is imperative that we also work to strengthen this improved ROM.
It is important that we work to strengthen our stabilizing muscles (think core!) as it can greatly improve our overall posture.
My favorite “mobility guru” is Dr. Kelly Starrett. Check out his books “Becoming a Supple Leopard” or “Deskbound: Sitting is the new smoking” for more ideas on ways to incorporate the 4 S’s into your daily routine… whether you’re in the gym or not!