Flexibility is the lowest intensity-based modality of exercise included in our latest three-part exercise series. Flexibility plays a vital role in both the recovery and performance phases of aerobic and resistance based exercise.
When considering flexibility, it’s best thought of as the available passive range of your joints and limbs. Whilst flexibility is important, the term mobility should be the focus when targeting this modality of exercise. Whilst flexibility is the available passive range of joints, mobility refers to the active range of a joint. Meaning the range available through your own muscular contractions and not someone else moving you into a position.
Try this simple activity to better understand mobility and flexibility.
Place your forearm (palm facing upwards) on a table,
Now bend your wrist back towards you,
From this position, keeping the wrist bent, try and bend your fingers to make a fist.
You can’t! This is due to tension placed on the opposing muscle group, your wrist extensors. Now in the same position try and bend the two joints in your fingers, but keep the metacarpal-phalangeal joint (the knuckle) straight. This is much easier to do due to those forearm extensors not impacting the mobility of those finger joints.
This same tightness impacts every joint in your body, if your hamstrings prevent you from bending forwards, you find that range through your lower back. If your upper back if kyphotic (hunched), every time you reach overhead your shoulder has to find additional range elsewhere.
Regardless of your conditions or goals, improving and managing mobility can have a positive impact on your overall health and wellbeing. If you’re unsure of the best way to safely implement flexibility into your plan, speak to one of our Accredited Exercise Physiologists and make an appointment.