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Author: Will Mbanga, Posted: Friday, 26th March 2021, 08:00

The human body was designed to move. Even without a good understanding of Anatomy and Bio-mechanics, simply looking at the skeletal structure of a human being will evidence the fact that we were made to move!

One major downside of our over-developed primate brain is that we’ve built, invented and created our way out of many of the activities that required our physical effort, opting instead to mechanise, automate or delegate most physical activity. This has resulted in a host of mobility and flexibility issues that plague the average person.

Remember, your body functions as a unit – a ‘chain’ of interrelated parts. If your shoulders are stiff, you won’t have a quick, fluid arm swing when you are running. If you don’t have proper arm swing, your legs will slow down and your movement quality will drop.

Most of us have aches and pains

Consider how much time you spend hunched over a desk or table, or with your head and neck cocked awkwardly as you use your smart phone? When you’ve added up the hours and years of this, along with our other sedentary behaviours, it’s no wonder most of us have aches, pains and the many immobility issues that affect and incapacitate us.

Many people are put off by the hundreds of social media videos of ‘jacked’ athletes per-forming inhuman poses and joint busting stretches, but it need not be daunting at all. A simple, regular routine of full body stretching to lengthen and strengthen the muscles and increase mobility about joints is sufficient for increased bio-mechanical mobility, musculo-skeletal health and wellness.

This is achieved through a combination of dynamic mobility exercises, active and passive stretches, and muscle activation exercises to ‘switch on’ the deep core muscles.

Some advantages of mobility and flexibility training include:
• Greater balance and coordination
• Improved connective tissue/ collagen health
• Reduced injury risk
• Faster recovery
• Improved strength expression and performance

Pre-workout self-myofascial release (also known as foam rolling) and dynamic mobility exercises prepare your body completely for the vigorous movements that make up the main part of your workout, while mobility and flexibility routines maintain and enhance these gains.

Most sport or physical activity involves forceful movement, and mobility exercises stimulate your nervous system, muscles, tendons and joints in a dynamic manner, unlike static stretching.

Static stretches elongate a particular muscle or group of muscles, and their value and proper usage are often misunderstood. It’s best to do them at the end of your workout as part of the cool-down, not at the beginning. This is because they bring your body back to a state of rest and recovery, and allow you to focus on relaxing and lengthening the muscles that you have put under stress during your workout.

A cumulative effect

Mobility and flexibility have a cumulative effect over an extended period of time. After about four weeks, you should notice appreciable gains in your mobility, flexibility and ability to move smoothly during your training sessions.

Best of all, you’ll hopefully also notice a significant improvement in your general well-being – and your workouts!

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