The amazing reasons why you should do Joint Mobility regularly (And a follow along video!)

We were discussing all of the popping, crunching and clicking that we experience as we were doing our joint mobility this week (especially the neck exercises), and it got me thinking about what joint mobility is REALLY doing. 

Yoga has gained a lot of popularity in the last decade and while it is a great practice for a lot of people, joint mobility gives an alternative that is similar but different in a lot of ways. 

The goal of Joint Mobility training is to help lubricate the joints and keep them functioning at their ideal range of motion.  Some of the benefits of a regular joint mobility practice are healthier joints, greater range of motion, more fluid movement and improved flexibility. As your awareness of your mobility increases you can build on these basics and develop mobile spine, shoulders, and hips that are more resistant to injury and more responsive and fluid when in movement.

Immediate benefits:

1. Once you have finished a whole-body joint mobility session, you will feel completely relaxed. Most tension that was present at the start of the session has either been eliminated or softened.

2. You will restore health at each joint in your body by washing them with synovial fluid (joint lubrication). Prior to adolescence, our body would automatically feed our joints with nutrition. After puberty, the body stops doing this, and the only nutrition that our joints receive is that which we feed it through movement. So, if we don’t move through a full range of motion at each joint, we are literally starving our joints.

3. Another immediate benefit of joint mobility is that it provides a method connecting with your body and learning the areas that move well vs those that have more limitations.  As you become more of an expert with your own body, you will find that you can pinpoint the locations that need more focused attention and address specifically.

Key things to keep in mind while you are going through a joint mobility session

1.  If possible, start your day with joint mobility

It is ideal to do joint mobility near the beginning of your day, this allows you to check in and notice things that feel tight vs areas that feel good.  Over the weeks, you can start to recognize patterns in tightness, for example if your right calf muscle always seems to be tighter than your left, it might be work spending some additional time on mobility there. 

2. Avoid pain and threat

You should never reach any point of a range of motion where you are feeling pain.  The idea is to gently move into and out of a comfortable range of motion giving the muscles and joints an opportunity to relax and move in a way that doesn't force the body to compensate. 

3. Be mindful and attentive to what you are doing

Attention is important to start to discover areas where your body moves well vs poorly.  Perhaps you'll discover that your right shoulder doesn't move as well as your left.  Mindfulness allows the brain to become more in sync with the body.

4. Easy does it

Slow and easy movement works because it: is non threatening, less likely to cause pain, and allows you a greater opportunity to focus on the subtle differences in joint movements.

Click here for a 30 minute follow along joint mobility video   Remember: Move slowly and carefully through these exercises completely avoiding any discomfort. Use the minimum amount of force and effort to get the job done and be sure to pay careful attention to what you are doing in order to assess which movements might need additional focus. 

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