The Difference Between Flexibility and Mobility – and Why It Matters

The thought is, if we stretch enough, our bodies will stay limber, mobile and ready to move. Whether you are an exercise enthusiasts or someone nearing an age where health is on the forefront of your mind, you’re likely to hear the terms “flexibility” and “mobility” tossed around interchangeably. However, flexibility and mobility are not the same thing-and flexibility isn’t even always a great predictor of mobility. This means one can have great levels of flexibility, yet still struggle to perform basic movements and day-to-day tasks. But how does this work and how can physical therapy help you achieve optimal levels of both? Continue reading as Peak Physical Therapy Quincy MA breaks down the difference between flexibility and mobility below.

What is the difference between mobility and flexibility?

Mobility and flexibility are related but different things. Flexibility is a muscle’s ability to lengthen passively, or without engagement. When you perform static (holding still) stretches using body weight, limb support, or props, you’re working on muscular flexibility. While mobility is related to the joints and their ability to move actively through their full range of motion.

How does flexibility relate to mobility?

To have good mobility, the body does need to have good flexibility. To be mobile, the body also needs muscular strength and stability to actively manipulate the joints. Before a workout or after surgery, your therapist with Peak Physical Therapy Quincy MA will focus on improving mobility to enhance the ability of your nervous system. This activates the muscles used for movement. Mobility improves the contraction of the muscle fibers by the nerves that activate them, while simultaneously lengthening the muscles and the surrounding connective tissues. This increases blood flow to the targeted muscles and increases joint range of motion. Mobility training incorporates the entire body moving as one unit, enhancing coordination and flexibility for precise, controlled movement.

Benefits of Flexibility

  • Fewer injuries
  • Less joint and muscular pain
  • Improved posture and balance
  • Greater strength
  • Improved physical performance

Benefits of Mobility

  • Greater joint range of motion
  • Improved circulation
  • Decreased risk of injury
  • Reduced muscle tension and soreness
  • Improved posture
  • Improved movement efficiency

How Peak Physical Therapy Quincy MA Can Help

Optimal mobility requires motor control, core strength and stability. A person with great mobility is able to perform functional movement patterns with no restrictions in the range of motion of those movements. A flexible person may be able to achieve these movements, but may not have the core strength, balance, or coordination to perform the same functional movements as the person with great mobility. The professionally trained physical therapists at Peak Physical Therapy Quincy MA are experts in body mechanics and diagnosing functional movement deficits. They can improve joint restrictions and enhance movement following a brief consult. For more information and treatment options, please visit our website or call 781-986-0990 today.

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