Mobility Part 2: Why is Mobility Important?

As we discussed last time, mobility is the ability to move freely and with ease through a full spectrum of movements, as the body was intended to do. Over time our natural functional movement process is altered, and the body no longer moves as it was designed to.
How does this change happen? Our sedentary lifestyles, lack of exercise, and injuries all can play a large role in the loss of mobility. The body was designed to move, not to sit for hours on end in front of a desk, computer screen, or TV. Lack of movement creates weaknesses that the body must work around in order to complete daily tasks. The body begins to adapt new movement processes to continue to function. But, these processes are not the ones we were born with; they are not natural. These methods of moving are merely compensating for the natural processes.
So, as we age we experience things such as loss of strength, disk degeneration, or suffer muscle tissue deterioration, and as a result, joint mobility decreases. Our level of mobility is promoted and hindered by many external factors over the years. However, you should always be able to move in a fundamentally functional way.
If you experience reduced mobility you are more likely to suffer from recurring pain and risk potential injury, which further reduces mobility as the body attempts to make up for areas of weakness or discomfort.
For athletes, the ability to properly and fundamentally move allows for performance at their highest level while maximizing efficiency, and at the same time minimizing the risk of injury. For example, if you have a shortened or tightened hamstring group, you will lose some of the full capability of those specific muscles. These muscles will become overworked and stressed, increasing the risk of injury and additional loss of mobility.
Because the body begins to naturally compensate, it is important to understand the origin of the injury. Continuing with the hamstring example, often a tight hamstring can indicate a weakness in another muscle group. The weakness in one muscle contributes to the overuse of other muscle groups, such as the hamstrings, calve muscles, and low back musculature. Spending all of your time trying to stretch your hamstrings or trying the “latest stretching technique” will lead to frustration because you are not treating the cause of the problem! The original weakness that caused the tight hamstring must be corrected in order to solve the muscle imbalance and regain your mobility.
You can regain your mobility. But, it’s important to target the right problem and avoid common faults.

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