1 – TO SLOW DOWN, BREATHE, RELAX – CHILL OUT.
During mobility training, breathing is used immensely as a tool to get the most out of each movement. Exhaling is always used to relax into a stretch or soften more onto a mobility apparatus. Taking deep breaths turns on the parasympathetic nervous system, or the system in the body that brings an overall calmness. This lowers the heart rate and allows the muscles to relax. Many people tend to spend a lot of their day in fight or flight mode going from task to task with endless deadlines. Although this allows us to be alert and responsive, remaining in this high stress level can be detrimental to our health. Finding time to take care of yourself, both in body and mind, is essential to your overall wellness.
2 – RECOVERY AND MUSCLE DEVELOPMENT
When we take part in exercise, our muscles are constantly breaking down. The only way to build the muscle back up is to allow the tissue to recover properly. It’s a constant battle between the two. It’s important to be consistent in order to have a balance between effort and ease. Just as you need to stay consistent with your workouts to stay fit and healthy, maintaining a consistent routine to allow the body to recover is just as important. Intense exercise can lead to a buildup of lactic acid in the body, making our muscles sore. Using mobility tools such as a foam roller or a massage ball can have immediate pain relieving effects, decrease inflammation and facilitate recovery. To learn more read our previous blog post here.
3 – PERFORMANCE
Flexibility and mobility enhance movement during exercise. For example, poor ankle mobility is often caused by tightness in the calf muscles that function to plantarflex the foot (point the toes down). The muscle that runs along the shin which functions primarily to dorsiflex (point the toes up) the foot may be weak. When a trainer cues you to press through your heels during a squat, you are dorsiflexing your feet. You may think that having poor ankle mobility isn’t that big of a deal, however it affects the rest of the body tremendously. Power in a movement like squatting, comes from the ground up. Therefore, there is a chain reaction effect. An individual who has poor ankle mobility will have a difficult time with squatting, especially with increasing squat depth without the lower back rounding or the chest falling too far forward. Overall, flexibility and mobility allow us to move through greater ranges of motion during exercise, which make it possible for more complete and safe movements. With this, athletes with better mobility can generally lift heavier weight over time, without risk of injury, and with better results.
4 – JOINT HEALTH
There is no one size fits all approach to mobility training. Every humans body is different. We all hold different amounts of tension, tightness, and we all have slightly different joint structures/articulations. It is well known that movement at the joint increases synovial fluid in all of us. Synovial fluids function is to decrease friction between the articular cartilage of the joints. Your neck, elbows, wrists, hips, knees, and ankles are all considered types of synovial joints. Moral of the story: any joint movement helps circulate synovial fluid which facilitates smooth, pain-free movements to reach the appropriate range of motion.
5 – REDUCE INJURY
Taking the time to understand how your body moves and functions will make your exercise routine more effective and more importantly, safer. Mobility allows you to recognize what movement patterns feel right for your body, prior to performing any weight bearing exercises. Mobility also enhances body alignment and awareness therefore your exercise posture is improved which is a key component in every movement and essential in your everyday life.