The word “weight-loss” seems to be the only thing that makes people’s ears perk up when you talk about health and fitness. Why is that? You do know that skinny doesn’t always add up to healthy, right? And vice versa, being overweight doesn’t always mean you’re two steps away from diabetes or a heart attack. If you could make a choice right now between losing weight and having full mobility, which would you pick?
If you said weight-loss, I’m sorry to say – that answer is wrong. Actually, I’m not here to judge, I’m here to educate so, I hope you’ll here me out. In this blog I’m going to tell you why improved mobility trumps weight-loss, but first let’s start with a lil’ 101 on mobility.
Mobility refers to the range of motion your body can attain. It’s different from flexibility.
Mobility is the ability of a joint to move actively through a range of motion – your hips, your knees, your shoulders, etc. Flexibility is the ability of a muscle group to lengthen through a range of motion. Take a forward fold for example. The act of bending down means your mobile but if you can’t touch your toes, that’s a factor of flexibility.
There are many factors that determine one’s mobility and one of the most common things I see in my line of work is a poor squat when squatting is (should be at least) part of our every day life – it’s essential in fact. You need to squat to sit, to get up, to pretty much do anything for yourself independently.
Here are 5 reasons why improving your mobility pays it forward unlike weight-loss alone:
Lower risk of injury. Lack of mobility will keep you from performing an exercise correctly which could lead to injury. Performing an exercise correctly ensures that the stress of the movement is distributed properly throughout the body instead of dumping everything into an area like your knees during that squat I mentioned or your shoulders with poor rack form.
Increased strength. Your body’s ability to generate power is directly proportional to the ratio of a given muscle’s tension and length. Mobility allows you to lengthen muscles beyond what you might usually have a need for, so that you’re not limiting your strength in any range of motion. Also, when you are in proper alignment, you can build on that strength because the load is distributed correctly.
Reduced stress. Yes, we’ve all heard that exercise is a great outlet for mental stress but let’s bring up the fact that improved mobility can reduce physical stress too in your body. When you put the work in at the beginning of your journey towards improved health to improve your mobility, your body will be less sore and achy after a good hard workout.
No lower back pain. In our world, we sit. This makes us immobile for 10 to 12 hours a day and is very different from the environmental our body was designed for. Consciously increasing mobility will help counteract these common ailments of the modern world – back ache, poor postures, carpel tunnel – you name it.
Improved posture. Not just for the reasons named above but for the sake of self-confidence. If you are more confident, the choices you make for yourself and your health will be more aligned with your goals and if your goal happens to be weight-loss, well there you have it – it’s a win, win.
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