My movement has been getting a little worse as I have aged – am I losing mobility, flexibility, strength, or balance?

Consider the joint by joint view of the body. It’s the idea that each joint alternates from mobile to stable as we move from the feet up. Our feet are stable, our ankles are mobile, our knees are stable, our hips are mobile, our lumbar spine is stable, our thoracic spine is mobile, and our shoulders/neck must be both stable and mobile. Every joint is affected by those above and below it.

photo by livestrong

A sprained ankle might inhibit my ankle mobility. But that limited ankle mobility will lead to less stable knees. A less stable knee is going to lead to a less mobile hip. Suddenly my hamstrings feel tighter than ever before, I’ve lost strength and balance in my leg, and I even have a nagging pain in my opposite shoulder. Our bodies are incredibly complex – a crack in the foundation of a house may not lead to the entire structure falling right away, but it sure could lead to a leaky sink in the upstairs bathroom that no one can seem to figure out its source.

The point is – you might be losing mobility as you age. We all do. But that loss of mobility is also a contributing factor to the loss of flexibility, strength, and balance. This is not at all to sound all negative and doom and gloom, because the inverse of this is also true.

Spending five minutes a day to work on my ankle mobility will also help restore knee stability. Working on my single leg balance will help restore strength in my legs and core. Focusing on improving my hamstring flexibility will lead to a reduced injury risk in my hips and lower back.

When it rains, it pours, and that’s usually a bad thing. But when viewed through a different lens, perhaps it can also be a good thing?

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