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Are Flexibility And Mobility the Same Thing?

Updated: Mar 17

Whether you’re getting up there in years and want to maintain your health or are interested in improving your fitness ability, mobility is the answer.

Mobility training improves the range of motion for both joints and muscles. Having a healthy range of motion assists in improving posture and can contribute to improving your overall body awareness. Additionally, mobility helps to prevent and alleviate ‘everyday’ aches and pains.

Someone practicing mobility

No matter your fitness goals, you can’t achieve greatness without mobility. In the Mobility Blog Series, I will provide daily tips and exercises to help improve your range of motion.

Is Mobility The Same As Flexibility?

Mobility is not the same as flexibility. Here are the differences between mobility and flexibility. Flexibility is defined as “the ability of a muscle or muscle groups to lengthen passively through a range of motion,” whereas mobility is the “ability of a joint to move actively through a range of motion.” Flexibility is not an indicator of mobility.

To help you understand the difference, here is an exercise that tests your flexibility.

Sit And Reach Test- This test is used to measure the flexibility of the lower back and hamstrings.

-Sit on the floor with your back and head against a wall. Legs should be out straight ahead, and your knees flat against the floor.

-Lean forward slowly as far as possible, keeping the fingertips level with each other and the legs flat. Your head and shoulders can come away from the wall as you reach toward your toes.

-Reach as far as possible and hold for 2 seconds.

Trunk Rotation Test- This flexibility test measures trunk and shoulder flexibility.

-Mark a vertical line on the wall. Stand with your back to the wall directly in front of the line. You should be about an arm’s length away from the wall with your feet shoulder-width apart.

-Extend your arms out directly in front of you, so they are parallel to the floor. Twist your trunk to your right and touch the wall behind you with your fingertips. Your arms should stay extended and parallel to the floor. You can turn your shoulders, hips, and knees as long as your feet don’t move.

-Mark the position where your fingertips touched the wall. Measure the distance from the line. A point before the line is a negative score, and a point after the line is a positive score.

-Repeat for the left side

Which exercise were you more successful with? Mine was the sit and reach test because I am pretty flexible. However, my mobility is ok but could use some improvement.

What Is The Importance of Mobility?

We all need to maintain mobility as we age, as being mobile is a crucial aspect of being healthy, and compromised mobility increases the risk of injury.

Mobility training can improve the range of motion of joints and muscles, assist in improving posture, and alleviate everyday aches and pains.

Taking as little as 10 minutes a day can help improve mobility over time.

A lady trying shoulder mobility

What is your motivation to improve your mobility? Mine is definitely the anti-aging benefits. I want to be more mobile as I age to prevent stiff muscles and joints.

A Full Body Mobility Exercise To Get You Started

Mobility exercises should be part of your daily routine. Am I perfect with this, no. But I try my best. I am more prone to incorporate theses exercises on the days I work out. But I'd like to get better at doing these exercises daily, even if it's only one.

The Standing Spinal Wave is a full-body mobility exercise and is great to use if you are short on time. It is one exercise that really can help the entire body. This move is ideal for restoring elasticity in the tissues situated around your spine.

(1) Start by standing in a neutral position with your feet hip-width apart.

(2) Tuck your chin and begin SLOWLY rounding your shoulders, upper back, middle back, and lower back as you move toward the floor, so you’re folded over your thighs.

(3) When you reach the point where you can’t go any lower, reverse the wave with your knees bent. Allow your knees to roll forward over your toes and push your hips and pelvis forward to reverse the movement up.

(4) End the position with your head and chest pulled up to the ceiling, standing in a neutral position.

I will say this exercise was a little awkward for me at first until I got the hang of the movement and how to do it. But once I did get the hang of it... wow... my body felt much better afterward.


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