Why Your Joints are so Important
Read below to find out why your joints' flexibility and mobility are so important and how you can increase your joints' longevity.
Flexibility refers to the breadth of passive movement in a joint. A moderate amount of flexibility allows us to perform our daily activities with relative ease. From walking down the stairs to picking something up from a high shelf to sitting down, all physical activity that you do throughout the day requires a certain degree of joint flexibility. As with everything throughout time, our joints get wear and tear as we age. Therefore, it is essential to work on joint flexibility as early as possible.
Without joint flexibility, our daily activities would be much more challenging to perform. Our muscles would quickly become inflexible and tire more quickly. Muscle fatigue would also set in and lead to serious injuries. A lack of flexibility increases the chances of muscles and joints becoming more susceptible to long-term trauma.
Improving the elasticity of muscles and connective tissue around joints allows greater freedom of movement. It enhances your ability to participate in several and varied activities that can be performed with greater ease. Staying active and participating in a regular stretching program increases circulation to the muscles, reduces problems with the lower back, enhances posture, promotes graceful movement, reduces the risk of joint stress, pain, and injury, increases range of motion, and improves the quality of life. These are all excellent reasons to incorporate activities to improve your joint flexibility into your training regime.
Mobility is the general ability to safely and effectively perform the universal human movements, i.e., squatting, bending, stretching, pushing, etc. Although flexibility is just one component of mobility, mobility is defined as the degree to which an articulation (where two bones meet) can move before being restricted by surrounding tissues (ligaments/tendons/muscles/etc.) – otherwise known as the range of uninhibited movement around a joint.
The skeleton is a passive mechanism. Although it works wonderfully when everything is aligned, it is pulled and adjusted by the muscles that attach to it. As we move throughout life, our muscles develop and grow based on our habitual movement patterns. As we perform some movements more often than others, the muscles can develop unevenly – with some becoming tighter and shorter, and others becoming looser and longer. The tighter muscles can result in pulling on the skeleton disproportionately, which shifts our joint positions. Having a joint slightly offset within a socket causes it to wear unevenly throughout time, leading to intense long-term issues.
You can improve your joints' longevity by incorporating a stretching regime into your exercise program, losing any necessary weight, quit smoking, and always warm-up and cool down before and after exercise.
If you have any tips to improve your joint mobility and flexibility, leave them below!