If you are like me and most other active people you sometimes experience soreness, stiffness, tight muscle, aches and pains as a result of your activeness. Especially if you like to push yourself! Sometimes we even think that we haven’t really pushed ourselves unless we “feel it” the next day, I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “No Pain No Gain”. While its true that some workouts or activities will leave us “feeling it” the next day (or two), sometimes those aches and pains can be warning signs of full on injuries not too far down the road.
Working on your mobility is one way to proactive in avoiding these aches, pains and potential injuries. Just a quick disclaimer, I’m not an expert by any means in this area. The purpose of this blog is not to give specific techniques for better mobility, it is my goal to help make you aware of how proper mobility can help you and give you a few resources to start your own journey of better mobility.
Personally I struggle with being consistent when it comes to working on my mobility. I have come to realize though that nobody is going to do it for me! It is my responsibility, and your mobility is your responsibility. You need to be aware of your body and the areas that you need to work on. For me, I know that my shoulders are a problem area. Knowing this I focus more on shoulder mobility than other areas.
Most often my rest days are “active rest days”. I don’t just sit around doing nothing on rest days. Sometimes I do Yoga for keeping my whole body loose and mobile. Other days I will focus specifically on one or more areas that are giving me problems, such as my shoulders. I believe that even on rest days you should be active in some way. My job keeps me moving through the day but it also contributes to to some of my shoulder issues. If you have a job where you sit all day you may need to focus on areas of your mobility that are adversely affected from sitting too much as an example. Learn to be tuned into your body, how its feeling, how its moving, are you sore, tight, in pain and so on. Being aware of how your body is doing is a step in the right direction for know where to focus on mobility.
Some of the more common tools for mobility work are foam rollers, lacrosse balls, tennis balls and fitness bands. A quick search on the web for mobility tools will help you to find many, many, many more tools, some probably more useful than others. Another search I would recommend is for mobility techniques, although this may prove to be a bit overwhelming. Personally, I get a lot of my information from the Barbell Shrugged podcast and website. They have some great articles and podcasts on mobility and give a lot of other sources on the topic of mobility. You might want to start with “3 Principles for Better Mobility” . Also check out their free mobility guide for a very useful flow chart on mobility. Another great source I’ve recently discovered (through the Barbell Shrugged podcast) is Max Shank. I highly recommend checking out his site, specifically his “Change Your Life in 5 Minutes” article. Kelly Starrett, another big name in the mobility world, has a book on the subject also ( The Supple Leopard).
Remember your mobility is your responsibility, put in some time, do some research, stay mobile, stay active and “Get Out More”!