Your cardio may be on point and your physique seemingly at its rippling best, improving your mobility though may be your key to unlocking a long and injury free career.
Injuries Caused by Lack of Mobility
The injuries caused by a lack of mobility are predominantly in the major joints. These areas rely on regular movement and stretching to avoid the onset of muscle stiffness or soreness after exercising or competing.
The ankle is a complex joint which we rely on most frequently in our daily lives. The fact that it bears such an intense load, carrying our bodies around on a daily basis means that we should pay particular care to ensuring its range of motion is the best it can possibly be. From the most common basketball injuries to a simple ankle twist walking on an uneven sidewalk, a large number of ankle strains and sprains are worsened by an underlying lack of mobility. Through increased mobility, the joint can withstand more movement without succumbing to injury.
Being the largest joint in the body, the knee is always working. Every movement, be it in a casual or competitive environment involves knee movement. Throughout our lives we encounter a variety of knee injuries. These could range from minor strains sustained on the golf course, to damaged cartilage from years of wear and tear. Performing mobility exercises creates a more robust and tolerant knee-joint. Many of these mobility exercises can even be combined with your home workout routine for maximum efficiency.
Increasing Joint Mobility
Making a start on improving your joint mobility need not be a painstaking task. As we have already highlighted, many of the stretches can be incorporated into your daily routine or workout schedule. They make for ideal warm-up exercises and although differing from flexibility, you will notice that they can have the added bonus of improving your flexibility too.
Performing stretches is the most effective way to achieve increased mobility, although you can provide assistance in the process by following a positive lifestyle which further promotes mobility. First and foremost, that means not being idle. Going about your day briskly is an excellent start on the road to increased mobility and you may even find some mental bonuses as your approach each day with a positive, active, mindset.
Another area where you can greatly help to assist your joint health and mobility is diet. There are a variety of foods you can consume, from collagen supplements which can directly target our joints and help to repair damaged cartilage that can lead to joint stiffness to ginger extract which possesses superb anti-inflammatory properties. These types of food provide fast and effective benefits for our joint health and improve mobility as a result.
Reduce Your Recovery Time
If you have ever returned to exercise after a sustained period of absence, you will recognize the logical value of this point. The more we move our muscles and joints, the more accustomed they become to the additional strain. Consequently, our recovery time greatly decreases. This is not due to muscle memory alone.
Logically, as we increase our movement and activity over time, our mobility naturally increases. With the relieved stiffness and increased freedom our bodies experience, our recovery times decrease. This can be more effectively targeted by customizing our routines to involve mobility and range of motion exercises. This can also help to remove many of the psychological barriers which prevent people from returning to exercise.
Naturally, this needs to be incorporated with other workout recovery methods such as adequate hydration and the correct nutritional intakes to see the best possible results, but, it is a vital element of a speedy recovery.
One of the most measurable ways in which better mobility can help you stay injury free is by increasing your durability. This does not necessarily make you bigger and tougher, nor does it suddenly make you a human punch bag. It does however make you more resilient and increase your ability to absorb contact in sports or the natural twists and turns of daily life.
Using the analogy of a door hinge. Over time, this may become stiff and rigid. The function it performs may be limited or performed with great difficulty. Add oil however and suddenly the function greatly improves. Our mobility is much the same. By improving our mobility, we are suddenly able to make that quick pivot or bounce back from a poor tackle easily. This can be attributed to our increased range of motion and freedom within our joints from our improved mobility.
While there are many keys to remaining injury free, including a certain element of good fortune, there is no doubt that we greatly improve our chances of doing so by following the best procedures. As we can see, one of these best practices is to incorporate mobility training into our daily exercise routines. There are so many methods and strategies on offer today, it is our job to pinpoint the most beneficial. Regardless which training methods we avail of, the elements of a strong foundation should remain.
This foundation should include both a warm-up and cool down period, before and after we exercise. This is the ideal time to perform some mobility stretches. Increasing our mobility takes only a few minutes of our day and given the benefits we have reviewed, it is a very productive use of our time.
About the author: John C. is a physiotherapist student who also holds a BSc. in Kinesiology as well as a Master’s Degree in Biomechanics. When he’s not studying or blogging over at Brace Access you can find him at the rink doing what all good Canadian boys do, playing puck.