What is mobility?
In today’s information age, we’re constantly bombarded by images, videos and advice on everything that we do, including exercise. A common buzz word you may have heard is ‘mobility’ – but what is it really?
Mobility refers to your body’s ability to move freely and fluidly, ensuring that you can manoeuvre with no discomfort or pain. If you’ve experienced any kind of strain or injury, you know how important mobility is and why you should make it a priority.
Whether you’re in tip-top shape or looking for ways to improve your health, maintaining your body’s mobility can go a long way. By making small changes on a long-term basis, you can preserve or restore your body’s ability to move freely and experience a greater quality of life.
Understanding Lack of Mobility
Our bodies are extraordinary machines that can perform complex tasks and execute co-ordinated movements on a continual basis. Like a machine, if there is a mechanical issue with a specific part or a lack of fluidity, you may experience stiffness and reduced mobility. If a lack of mobility in one part of your body is not sufficiently addressed, it may extend to surrounding areas. This may have further consequences, such as muscular imbalances and overcompensation.
Likewise, a lack of exercise can also severely impact your strength and mobility. While too much exercise can lead to injury, a deficit can be detrimental to your mobile health. A balanced exercise regime can lead to improved range of motion in your joints, greater muscular strength and pain relief. As you can see, everything is connected!
Aside from injury, lack of mobility can be caused by other factors including age and diet. As we age, our muscles become less limber than they were in our earlier years, making us more susceptible to injury if caution is not observed. Not surprisingly, your diet can also affect your ability to move freely as joint cartilage naturally degenerates with age. Cartilage provides cushioning and lubrication for your joints so it’s also important to eat well for your mobile health.
How to Maintain Mobility
As we outlined above, three (3) major factors that can contribute to your mobility are:
- Lack of Exercise
While you may not be able to control some of these occurrences, you can incorporate some simple steps to improve your mobility and keep on moving. Working on mobility doesn’t have to be difficult! Here are some simple steps you can try:
1. Gentle Stretching
Stretching is important for keeping your muscles in optimal shape and improving your mobility. Three (3) stretches you can try are:
If you’re familiar with yoga, you may have heard of Child’s Pose which is simple and effective. On your exercise mat, begin by sitting on your heels with your knees as wide as it feels comfortable, remembering to keep your two sets of toes touching. As you inhale, bring your hands to the front of you while gently pushing your hips back. Resting your forehead to the mat, gently exhale and feel the stretch in your shoulders, arms and spine. Try doing Child’s Pose once a day for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
If you sit at a desk all day, tight shoulders and posture may be issues you wish to address. While keeping your shoulders back and your spine in an upright posture, gently roll your shoulder back ten (10) times, then forward ten (10) times. Doing shoulder rolls daily can improve muscle tension and loosen tight shoulders.
If you’re looking for a way to strengthen your hips and stretch your lower body, lunges are the way to go! Begin by standing hip-width apart and taking a step forward with your right leg, gradually shifting your weight onto your heel.
As you bend, ensure that your right shin and thigh are at a 90-degree angle while keeping your back upright. You should also keep your left leg straight and hips forward – proper form is important! Push into your right foot and gain enough momentum to come back to your standing position, repeating ten (10) times for each leg. By doing lunges every other day, you can improve your hip mobility while also strengthening your leg muscles.
2. Diet & Supplements
As mentioned above, your joint health can play an integral part in your overall mobility. You can also use a supplement to improve your joint health, such as Jamieson’s Glucosamine Chondroitin, which relieves joint pain and prevents cartilage degeneration.
It’s also important to maintain a balanced diet that nourishes your joints and reduces inflammation. Some foods that you can use regularly consume to improve joint health are salmon, turmeric, cherries, green vegetables and ginger.
By incorporating these simple tips, you can maintain your mobility and improve your health for years to come.