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The Difference Between Flexibility and Mobility

Flexibility and mobility are two similar concepts that play vital roles in human movement and physical performance. While they are often used interchangeably, they actually refer to different aspects of our body’s ability to move. Although their definitions are not necessarily agreed upon by everyone in the movement profession, and often times semantics come into play, there are a few things that most can agree on.

Mobility, is the broader concept of the two. It encompasses flexibility but also includes factors such as joint stability, strength, and control. Mobility reflects the ability to move freely and effectively through a full range of motion without restrictions or compensations. It involves not only the flexibility of muscles and soft tissues but also the coordination, strength, and control required to execute movement patterns.

While flexibility focuses on passive range of motion, mobility involves active movement. Mobility requires not only the ability to stretch and lengthen muscles but also the capacity to activate and control them throughout the range of motion. For instance, a person with good mobility in their hips can not only achieve a deep squat position but also maintain balance and control during the movement.

A yogi may possess exceptional flexibility in their joints and muscles, enabling them to perform splits and backbends effortlessly. However, if they lack mobility, they might struggle to perform complex transitions that require a combination of strength, coordination, and control, even within their extensive range of motion.

Both flexibility and mobility are essential for overall physical health and performance. Flexibility helps prevent muscle imbalances, reduces the risk of injury, and improves posture and body alignment. Mobility, on the other hand, enhances functional movement patterns, sports performance, and activities of daily living by allowing individuals to move with efficiency, stability, and control.

Developing both flexibility and mobility is crucial for optimal physical performance and well-being. It is important to incorporate a variety of stretching, strengthening, and movement exercises into our routine to promote both flexibility and mobility in our bodies.

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