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Flexibility or Mobility?

You often hear these two words interchangeably whenever you are doing something physical either at the gym, at work or at home, and these are most often confused from one to the other.

So, what are they and how will that help YOU?

According to South Side Physiotherapy “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”. In other words, Mobility is the ability to move our bodies to a certain range of motion with your own strength while flexibility is the ability to get a certain range of motion as much as the muscle allows with the help of an external force.

Which is more important? Although being flexible is important, Mobility is the most important factor to keep our bodies healthy and able. Flexibility is just a subcategory of mobility. You could be very flexible and not mobile, but you can’t be very mobile and not flexible.

What does that mean exactly? Everyday movements such as sitting, walking, reaching, getting up, etc... require mobility and flexibility and this in turn affects your quality of life.

As we age, it is essential to maintain our mobility and flexibility to keep us independent and able to do the things we want and value. An added benefit of this is the decreased risk of injury and the fear of it.

How often do we struggle getting off the floor, putting on our clothes, tying our shoes, sitting down and getting back up, meaning doing everyday life movements?

Is it painful to move our joints and body just getting around the house/car/life?

If so, we might have a mobility and flexibility problem.

What is mobility and flexibility?

According to physical therapist Maura Blackstone, Mobility is how freely and easily you can move your body through a full range of motion and produce the desired movements, whereas Flexibility is the ability for soft tissues to lengthen passively through a range of motion.

To simplify, Mobility is how easy it is for you to move your body to do daily life movements with your own strength, while flexibility is how much you can stretch the muscle fibers through a range of motion with the help of an external force.

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