Even if it seems subtle, there’s a difference between flexibility and mobility. These two words are often misused. Once, you’ll understand the difference between the two, you’ll know how to differentiate them.
Here we’ll explain what’s the difference between flexibility and mobility.
What is flexibility?
Flexibility refers to the capacity of muscle tissue to lengthen passively through a range of motion. It also refers to the range of motion of a joint or series of joints. In other words, when you’re flexible, you’re able to move your joints freely. If you can touch your toes with your hands you can say for instance that you’re flexible. In other words, your muscle tissue can stretch.
Flexibility is something that can be improved to a certain extent. In fact, if you stretch every day you can maintain or increase your flexibility. Flexibility is all about where and how far your joints can move. There are many benefits of being flexible.
Flexibility to avoid injuries
First of all, if you’re flexible you’re less likely to get muscle and joint injury. If your muscle can lengthen then performing exercises will become easier. This can also help in your everyday life. The more your joints have the flexibility the more you’ll be able to reach things and stretch with great distance.
Flexibility for posture
Another reason why flexibility is important is posture and balance. In fact, sitting and standing become easier. Moreover, it’s important to exercise, stretch, or do some kind of sport that requires flexibility like gymnastics. To become more flexible you can stretch every morning or evening. You may also do yoga or pilates. For instance, yoga allows you to become flexible by using a range of different poses.
Flexibility as we age
Another point to remember is that flexibility decreases as you get older. In fact, the risk of injuries and imbalances are higher. Since we lose our muscle tone, bone density, and skin elasticity it’s important to always maintain flexibility. No matter how old you are, try to implement exercises in your everyday life to stay flexible.
Limits of flexibility
We said previously that flexibility can be improved to a certain extent. This is because there are some elements to consider that can affect flexibility. For instance, overtraining can affect flexibility since your muscles are fatigued. And on the other side, it’s important to do strength exercises and with a different range of motions. This will allow you to become more and more flexible, making sure your body is used to the movement.
What is mobility?
Mobility is the ability of a joint to move actively through a range of motion. This means the capacity of simply moving and controlling the joints. When you’re “mobile” it means that you’re able to move in space. As an example of flexibility, we said that it can be touching your toes. But to understand mobility takes for instance a lunge. When you do lunges you move but you also have to control your hips, legs, and balance. You’re actively working the movement. This is mobility.
Mobility is for everyone
The best thing about mobility is that it is natural in everybody. In fact, if you aren’t naturally flexible you’ll have to work out and stretch to improve your flexibility. However, mobility is natural in every individual. For instance, some people can become flexible but only in the short term. This is because they might have poor activity levels. Thus they end up having tight bodies. However, mobility can be done by everyone.
Mobility for balance and range of motion
The number one benefit is managing imbalances. For instance, when you start a new exercise you have to focus on many things. We can take as an example step-ups. This exercise is good for keeping the heart rate high. And it works the buttocks, quadriceps, and hamstrings. This exercise needs great mobility to go up and down. Moreover, you need mobility for this exercise because you use one leg at a time. Finally, mobility exercises will help with increasing range of motion. Thus you’ll perform quality exercises and movements in your everyday life for the long term.
Mobility as we age
Mobility helps people stay independent and control their bodies. If you implement mobility exercises you’re less likely to fall and/or fracture your bones as you age. In fact, elder people often experience loss of balance because of the lack of mobility. It’s also important to implement mobility exercises in order to not depend on others or objects. For instance, when you reach a certain age you’ll avoid walking with a cane.
As you can see, there’s a difference between flexibility and mobility. Even if it’s a subtle one, you should always keep it in mind. This is because it will help you in your everyday life, especially when exercising. Try to implement flexibility and mobility exercises. Your body will thank you for it!