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It is vital to maintain the characteristics of joint stability and joint mobility throughout life regardless of your age or physical stamina.
It doesn’t matter if you are young, old, a competitive athlete or a weekend warrior.
Understanding core and joint strength, as well as joint mobility can save us from years of joint pain, arthritis and limited mobility as we age.
Some of you may actually already have stability and mobility exercises added to your daily schedule.
If you do, give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back because you are ahead of the curve. However, let’s make sure you are training to master both skills.
The definition of the two terms are different but they both work synergistically together through the kinetic chain.
• Joint stability is defined as the ability to resist movement in a joint from an outside force.
• Joint mobility is defined as ability to move a joint through its full anatomical and available range of motion.
Our lives consist of multi-level movements and planes which we consciously and unconsciously put our bodies through.
The transverse (horizontal) and sagittal (vertical) planes
add flexion and extension, and are two major movements that are pillars in our day-to-day functioning.
For us to be functional in daily activities, these movements play a vital role.
Stability and mobility are critical health components for optimum performance in both the sports world and the general population.
Life without joint stability would give us the body structure of a Slinky.
An absence of mobility within our joints would give us the appearance of modern-day mummies.
At some point, all of us have overlooked and neglected warm-up and cool-down stretches, especially during our young glory days.
Most of the youth are still doing that very same thing, and some have been fortunate to get away with it with no apparent injuries.
Others are not so lucky. We are starting to see serious injuries as a repercussion in early childhood recreation sports.
Not warming up before activity is like walking in a minefield.
You don’t know when or where you’re going to step next, before you are blown to pieces.
You have no idea when a knee will tear, when that hamstring will pull, or even when that shoulder or back will blow out.
I often see folks improperly training in the gym.
I sometimes see people flexing their spine when they should be stabilizing or having the spine in a more natural position when they should be in extension and yet they still seem to train and remain injury free.
Then, there are opposite cases in which the wife or husband try to do the same exact movements with the same improper form and injure themselves within minutes.
Why is this?
It’s because some of us have developed tremendous stability and lack the mobility, while others have developed mobility and yet still have poor stability.
Because of these differences, outcomes can vary based on the exercise in which a person is performing and their limited range of motion or lack thereof.
We must include both joint stability and joint mobility in our exercise regimens to maintain safe dynamic and functional movements.
One of my favorite quotes says, “It’s not practice that makes perfect, it’s perfect practice that makes perfect.”
Keeping this idea in mind as an athlete, young or old, can save you from a major injury.
Until next time, train hard and eat healthy.