by Dr. Stephanie Deschenes
Move By Design
The fitness industry has evolved a lot in the last couple decades… constantly innovating new and different ways to “lose weight faster than ever!” and best of all it will “only take 10 minutes a day!”.
In today’s fast paced society, people are constantly seeking the best results in the shortest amount of time with as little effort as possible resulting in multiple shortcuts that compromise form for gains.
Don’t get me wrong, I am absolutely in favour of setting goals and pushing my limits when it comes to fitness…
However, your body is not a car that you can beat up repeatedly and then just replace with a new one when it wears out… You only have one body, so you better take good care of it!
One of the most common mistakes most people make when training is to prioritize muscle development over the mechanics of a movement.
When it comes to mechanics there’s one thing above all else that hold people back from performing an exercise properly: MOBILITY!
And if you’re like everyone else as soon as I say the word mobility you’re probably thinking… “that’s the same as flexibility right?”
The Answer is no, not exactly…
What Is The Difference Between Flexibility And Mobility?
Well, let me tell you…
Because I too used to think that mobility and flexibility were the same thing… and in retrospect, I was not totally wrong, but I certainly wasn’t clear about how they were different.
And worst of all, not only did I not understand the difference but I was lacking both flexibility AND mobility!
Flexibility is the property of a muscle that allows it to lengthen passively (meaning that you don’t have to contract the muscle).
Mobility is having full strength and control of a joint’s movement through its entire healthy range of motion.
A great example to clarify the difference is to think of a ballet dancer: It’s one thing to be able to grab your heel and passively pull your leg overhead – this would require really good flexibility… I’m no ballet expert, but if you don’t have the strength and control required to raise your leg to the same position using your muscles is it really that useful?
Why Is Mobility So Important?
Joint mobility is important because it allows you to do everyday movements in ideal positions.
And when you move in an ideal position you reduce your chance of getting injured because the connective tissues (the muscles, ligaments and tendons surrounding the joints) are going to be in their ‘strongest’ position.
Think about the gears on your bike…
Traveling on a flat surface is not too challenging, but as soon as you start to head up hill the resistance increases…
Think about how much harder your muscles would have to work to keep the bike moving…
Your brain would recruit whatever other muscles it needed to get the job done… you would no longer be seated and would likely end up standing on the pedals to keep the bike moving.
Now, how much easier would it be if you were in the ‘ideal’ gear? And how much less strain would you be putting on your bike (and you!)?
Your body works in a very similar way…
With better joint mobility you can perform movements with ‘ideal’ technique, and with ‘ideal’ technique you will dramatically improve your performance and power output, while decreasing the risks of getting injured.
And the benefits of mobility don’t stop there..
Movement is an essential nutrient for the brain. Research shows that moving your joints (especially your spine) through their full range of motion is vital to maintaining healthy brain function, especially the parts of the brain responsible for decision making, planning, concentration and learning.
So just imagine what happens to your brain when these movement requirements are not met… It’s actually pretty scary!
What Causes Reduced Mobility?
Every human (with the odd exception) has ‘full’ mobility when they’re born.
Just take a look at how kids move and the positions that they can get into with ease… Well, as adults, we should be able to do the same thing! I know, crazy right?
You can put the majority of the blame for your decline in mobility on your desk job, sitting for long periods, repetitive movements, poor posture, and being too sedentary in general…
You’ve been told by the fitness establishment that all you have to do is jump on a treadmill everyday for 30 minutes to meet your body’s requirement for movement… and now I hope you clearly understand one reason (there are more!) why that’s clearly false. (Click HERE to read more about why cardio is not king.)
What Should You Do?
If you spend the majority of your day at your desk the first thing you should do is make sure you get up and move at least every 30 minutes. I know, I know… you’re not going to be popular with your boss, but in fact there’s good research to demonstrate that regular movement breaks actually increase your productivity!
If you’re really serious about improving your mobility and avoiding the all too common decline that comes with immobility (aka. osteoarthritis) then you’ll definitely want to join us for our next Move By Design Seminar. Click HERE now to register.
And if you’re really really serious and don’t want to wait until our next seminar to get started then click HERE for instant access to our Joint To Joint Mobility Program.
Blog re-posted from The Wellness Group