“Strength without flexibility equals rigidity, and flexibility without strength equals instability.”- Jonny Kest
You might be one of those people who like to hit it hard in the gym, whether that’s with cardio or strength training, but rarely take the time to work on your flexibility or joint mobility. The reason this is important is described in the quote above, building strength without working on motion will more often than not lead to some degree of rigidity. Our bodies are meant to be very mobile, but for most of us, our lifestyles have hindered our natural mobility. Toddlers and younger kids always have amazing range of motion, and that’s because they haven’t had time to ruin it yet by a sedentary lifestyle or spending too much time building strength without the mobility.
It’s important to note the difference between flexibility and mobility. Flexibility relates to your muscles and their ability to lengthen. Mobility relates to your joints and their ability to move freely without restrictions. Both flexibility and mobility contribute to range of motion. This means that not only is stretching important, but joint mobility exercises are just as important for being able to move your body the way it is designed to move. Yoga is a great example of a form of exercise that equally increases flexibility and mobility. And it just so happens that here at EFW, this month is Yoga month! Which means we are sharing a different yoga pose each day on our Facebook page. I challenge you to check out the poses and give them a try! We are also very lucky here, because we have a top-level yoga instructor, Romy, who has traveled around the world teaching yoga. If you aren’t taking advantage of her skills and knowledge, you’re missing out! She even offers private yoga sessions so that you can get one on one attention to focus on your specific needs.
If yoga sounds too intimidating or not your thing, try adding just a few exercises during your workout to improve range of motion. Here’s a couple for you to try out to improve hip, shoulder, and ankle mobility: Hip Circles (on hands and knees), Shoulder Passovers (w/ rod or resistance band), and Kneeling Knee to Wall Dorsiflexion. If you would like more of explanation on how to do these exercises, see Michelle in the gym!