Why Should I Increase my Mobility and What Should I Do?

Seventy9 Sports Therapy, injury clinic, Farnham, physiotherapy, sports massage, injury prevention, rehabilitation

We’re told regularly that we should do more mobility training during the day but why, and how?

Improving our daily mobility habits benefits our posture as joints have more space in which to move and our awareness of the world around us improves. This has a global effect on our general aches and pains, especially those driven from long days in the office and commuting.

Improved mobility also benefits our robustness in avoiding overuse injury and, most importantly, aids our sporting performance! This is primarily due to the length-tension relationship of muscle tissue, which is expressed as a bell curve with length along the bottom and strength up the side. It suggests that at the extremities of muscle length (in either a short or long position) our ability to produce force is reduced. Not only this, but the shorter the range of movement, the narrower the sweet spot for maximal force production. Improving this range of movement allows us to sit in this sweet spot more of the time which in turn allows us to engage more force during movement.

So, where to start?

  • Move more. Especially if you’re sedentary during the day. Simple behaviour changes such as taking and making phone calls whilst standing, using a small cup vs big bottle of water, setting a 15 minute timer on your phone, etc. Small changes make a big difference and simply standing up every 15 minutes all day will make a significant change. The gold standard for the workplace is moving to a sit/stand solution where the aim is 30 minutes sitting/30 minutes standing repeated all day (though most people will grow their exposure to 30 minutes standing over a few weeks).
  • Mobilise your hips. Think about your daily schedule; especially if you are office or driving based the majority of your day will be spent in a seated position where the anterior hip structures (hip flexors) are shortening and the posterior hip structures (glutes, hamstrings) are lengthening. Focus on lengthening the anterior structures and decreasing tonicity using a lacrosse ball for self massage in the posterior structures. Some posterior hip activation work such as glute bridges will also help.
  • Be consistent. Much like training the body responds better to regular doses of mobility load rather than irregular inputs. Setting aside 10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes in the evening to complete a simple movement flow is a great way to increase your mobility exposure.
  • Schedule it. Whether that be your regular 10 minutes in the morning and evening or a weekly yoga class, making an appointment with mobility makes it more permanent and you are much more likely to adhere to it.
  • MOVE MORE! Movement is king and simply increasing our exposure to it is a significant positive intervention.

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