MOVE + FEEL + ADVENTURE… BETTER
This blog is part of a series of posts discussing various components of hiking fitness. If you haven’t already, you’ll want to check out the previous blogs The Importance of Strength Training , Restoring Proper Muscle Activation, and The Importance of Core Stability.
Mobility training is essentially “joint training” to keep your joints healthy and moving in the way they were intended. Mobility plays a significant role in how your body feels and how it responds to movement and exercise.
Mobility exercises help fix restricted movement patterns and retrain your central nervous system to allow for greater range of motion (ROM). When joints are able to move freely, and through their optimal ROM there is less “wear & tear” action. Being mobile allows for proper, efficient, and pain-free movements (on and off the trail), and reduces the risk of injury.
- Don’t accept lack of mobility as a “normal” part of aging. The reality is that most people become more sedentary as they age and stop moving their bodies (and joints) through full ranges of motion. Mobility is a “if you don’t use it, you lose it” scenario.
- Nagging aches, pain, and stiffness you feel day-to-day is often the result of insufficient mobility. Restoring optimal range of motion will not only be beneficial to everyday living, but also how you feel and move on the trail. Those stiff hips or tight ankles will still be there when you hit the trail if you don’t do something about it.
- Unfortunately, most people don’t pay proper (if any) attention to mobility training. Or if they do, it’s only AFTER getting injured. But it’s also crucial to preventing injury; so don’t wait until you get injured to start building a more resilient body!
How do I know if mobility training is right for me?
- Mobility training provides benefits for everyone!
- If you feel stiffness in any part of your body, or had an injury in the past, you will definitely benefit from mobility training. It will, however, require consistency and time.
The ankle, knee, hip, and low back are all links in a chain that are dependent on each other to work properly and efficiently during motion. When one of these areas is not functioning properly it affects the chain above and below it. For example, limited ankle mobility will alter movement patterns and create stress up the chain which can result in knee, hip, and/or low back pain.
Following a foot injury a few years ago (unable to walk and reliant on a kneeling scooter and crutches for several months) my ankle mobility was significantly impaired. Aside from the expected muscle weakness in the injured leg, I also began experiencing nagging discomfort in my hip and low back when I was released to walk again. While I was able to address the muscle imbalances and weakness relatively quickly, the mobility component of my recovery is something that I’m still continually working on.
If you are interested in learning more about mobility training, you should check out my Hiking Training Program HIKE-ABILITY. The program incorporates cardio, strength, stability, and mobility training (including two, follow-along mobility videos).
Adventure awaits, be ready for it!
Kristen, CPT and creator of the HIKE-ABILITY Training Program
Disclaimer: All information, content, and material (including associated text, videos, and links) on this website is provided in good faith and is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to serve as a substitute for the consultation, diagnosis, and/or medical treatment of a qualified physician or healthcare provider. All exercise has inherent risks. Before beginning any type of exercise, please consult your health care provider.