When you hear the word ‘joints’ it is typically used to refer to pain or stiffness. However, even though we idly comment on the state of a singular body part, it is important to remember that all parts of our body are one.
Bones, muscle, and tissue all surround your joints and are connected to the rest of your body.
In other words, if a single joint does not work properly, the joints above and below it can be affected.
So how do you sense you are in need of improving range of motion and pain-free movement? With the 3 aspects of healthy movement.
Flexibility is the first. This is your absolute range of motion for a particular body pat of joint system. Your range of motion is the full distance/direction you can move in.
How far can you raise your arm? How high can you kick your leg in the air? How long are your strides when you walk or run? These are all determined by your range of motion and mobility.
Working on flexibility throughout the day, especially prior to exercising, hekp maintain a healthy level of flexibility. Dynamic stretching is the top way to improve upon flexibility. While static stretching only stretches the muscles and does not prepare you for movement. Dynamic stretching involves hitting your full range of motion in a way that prepares your muscles for work.
Mobility is the next aspect of healthy movement.
While flexibility is the absolute range of motion, mobility is the ability to move without restriction. Mobility within a joint is also known as “articulation” – the degree to which the area where two bones meet is allowed to move before restricted by tissue, tendons, muscles, etc.
“The majority of people I see work out focus on cardio and some strength. But, a neglected area in my mind is that of mobility. Think of mobility of movement around a particular joint. Good mobility means that particular area (ankle, hip, thoracic spine for example) has the ability to move through a full range of motion, unrestricted. That is not the case with the majority of people however due to stress, old injuries, muscle imbalances, not enough recovery and especially tight connective tissue (i.e.fascia)Work on it by working on specific movements to help “open” up the area, get a massage, jump in a hot tub if available and use a foam roller everyday. “Michael Wood, CSCSChief Fitness Officer
Good mobility allows a person to perform movements without restriction, while good flexibility does not necessarily mean they have the strength, coordination or balance (which is all about stability) to execute the same movement.
If mobility relates to movement, then stability – without a doubt – relates to control.
Joint stability depends largely on the shape, size, and arrangement of the articular surfaces (the surfaces on joints and cartilage where the bone makes contact with another bone), the surrounding ligaments, and the tone of the surrounding muscle. Injuries including ligament tears and sprains can often lead to stability issues in the joint.
Make sure to keep these 3 aspects in mind as you train for overall health.
Daily mobility and activation drills plus dynamic stretching keep the body primed and ready to take on any challenge. Koko focuses on building a foundation for all 3 of these aspects before building upon them.
Stay loose, stay mobile, and stay Koko fit!
Michael Wood, CSCS
Chief Fitness Officer, Koko FitClub
About Michael Wood, Chief Fitness Officer
Michael Wood, CSCS, is Chief Fitness Officer at Koko FitClub, driving the development of integrated strength and cardio training and nutrition programs for Koko members nationwide. A nationally acclaimed fitness expert, Michael has conducted research as a Senior Exercise Physiologist at the Nutrition, Exercise Physiology and Sarcopenia Laboratory at the Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, and has lectured at Boston University and the University of Connecticut. He has been named Boston Magazine’s “Best of Boston” Personal Trainer, and made the Men’s Journal “Dream Team” list of the nine best trainers in the U.S. Michael and his family live in North Attleboro, MA.